THE HEART OF PRINCESS OSRA
By ANTHONY HOPE
Author of "The Prisoner of Zenda"
By the Author of this Volume
THE HEART OF
"The Prisoner of Zenda " The Dolly Dialogues" Etc.
WITH NUMEROUS FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRA TIONS
H. C EDWARDS
flew l<?orfj anb lon&on
Frederick A* Stokes Company
Copyright, J895, J896
By A. H. Hawkins
By Frederick A. Stokes Company
Copyright, J895, J896
By S. S. McClure, Limited
L The Happiness of Stephen the Smith \
IL The Wager of the Marquis de Merosailles 5J
III* The Madness of Lord Harry Culverhouse 79
IV* The Courtesy of Christian the High-
V. The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein J3J
VL The Device of Giraido the Painter - J75
VIL The Indifference of the Miller of Hofbau 201
VIII, The Love of the Prince of Glottenberg 226
IX* The Victory of the Grand Duke of
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
44 * Kill him for me, then ; kill him for me ' " Frontispiece
414 Take her and be happy '" \\
" Stephen stood on the threshold with his staff in his hand " 37
The physician receives Princess Osra - 56
44 4 Madame, if you will, you can do me a great service ' n 10 J
44 With either hand he drew a silver-mounted pistol " 1 14
44 She asked the officer why a throng of people hastened
to the city" 118
444 My lord, where is the Princess?"' - 160
44 He drove his sword into his body, and the Count gave
back before it " 165
44 He walked with his head down and his eyes on the ground " 17 \
44 He took it and drained it " - 204
* On either side of it sat the priest of the village and the
Miller of Hofbau" 215
44 4 Forgive me, forgive me I'" - 252
44 A young man sprang up, and, with a low bow, drew
aside to let her pass " - 259
44 4 You are the beauty of the world,' he answered smiling " 263
The Heart of Princess Osra*
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith.
" STEPHEN ! Stephen ! Stephen ! "
The impatient cry was heard through all
the narrow gloomy street, where the old
richly-carved house-fronts bowed to meet
one another and left for the eye's comfort
only a bare glimpse of blue. It was, men
said, the oldest street in Strelsau, even as
the sign of the " Silver Ship " was the oldest
sign known to exist in the city. For when
Aaron Lazarus the Jew came there, seventy
years before, he had been the tenth man in
unbroken line that took up the business ;
and now Stephen Nados, his apprentice
and successor, was the eleventh. Old Laz-
arus had made a great business of it, and
had spent his savings in buying up the
better part of the street ; but since Jews
then might hold no property in Strelsau,
2 The Heart of Princess Osra.
he had taken all the deeds in the name of
Stephen Nados ; and when he came to die,
being unable to carry his houses or his
money with him, having no kindred, and
caring not a straw for any man or woman
alive save Stephen, he bade Stephen let
the deeds be, and, with a last curse against
the Christians (of whom Stephen was one,
and a devout one), he kissed the young
man, and turned his face to the wall and
died. Therefore Stephen was a rich man,
and had no need to carry on the business,
though it never entered his mind to do
anything else ; for half the people who
raised their heads at the sound of the cry
were Stephen's tenants, and paid him rent
when he asked for it ; a thing he did when
he chanced to remember, and could tear him-
self away from chasing a goblet or fashion-
ing a little silver saint ; for Stephen loved
his craft more than his rents ; therefore,
again, he was well liked in the quarter.
" Stephen ! Stephen ! " cried Prince
Henry, impatiently hammering on the
closed door with his whip. " Plague take
the man ! Is he dead?"
The men in the quarter went on with
their work ; the women moved idly to the
doors ; the girls came out into the street
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith. 3
and clustered here and there, looking at the
Prince. For although he was not so hand-
some as that scamp Rudolf, his brother,
who had just come back from his travels
with half a dozen wild stories spurring after
him, yet Henry was a comely youth, as he
sat on his chestnut mare, with his blue eyes
full of impatience, and his chestnut curls
fringing his shoulders. So the girls clus-
tered and looked. Moreover Stephen the
smith must come soon, and the sight of
him was worth a moment's waiting ; for he
buried himself all day in his workshop,
and no laughing challenge could lure him
" Though, in truth," said one of the girls,
tossing her head, " it's thankless work to
spend a glance on either, for they do not
return it. Now when Rudolf comes "
She broke off with a laugh, and her com-
rades joined in it. Rudolf left no debts of
that sort unpaid, however deep he might be
in the books of Stephen Nados and of the
others who furnished his daily needs.
Presently Stephen came, unbolting his
door with much deliberation, and greeting
Prince Henry with a restrained courtesy.
He was not very well pleased to see his
guest, for it was a ticklish moment with the
4 The Heart of Princess Osr a*
nose of Saint Peter, and Stephen would
have liked to finish the job uninterrupted.
Still, the Prince was a prince, a gentleman,
and a friend, and Stephen would not be
uncivil to him.
" You ride early to-day, sir," he observed,
patting the chestnut mare.
" I have a good reason," answered
Henry. " The Lion rages to-day."
Stephen put up his hand to shelter his
eyes from a ray of sunshine that had
evaded the nodding walls and crept in ; it
lit up his flaxen hair, which he wore long
and in thick waves, and played in his yel-
low beard ; and he looked very grave. For
when the Lion raged, strange and alarming
things might happen in the city of Strelsau.
The stories of his last fit of passion were
yet hardly old.
" What has vexed the King ? " he asked ;
for he knew that Prince Henry spoke of
his father, Henry surnamed the Lion, now
an old man, yet as fierce as when he had
been young. " Is it your brother again ?"
" For a marvel, no. It is myself, Ste-
phen. And he is more furious with me
than he has ever been with Rudolf ; aye,
even more than he was at all the stories
that followed my brother home."
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith. 5
"And what is the cause of it all, sir, and
how is it in my power to help?"
" That you will find out very soon," said
the Prince with a bitter laugh. " You will
be sent for to the palace in an hour, Ste-
" If it is about the King's ring, the ring
is not finished," said Stephen.
" It is not about the ring. Yet indeed
it is, in a way, about a ring. For you are
to be married, Stephen. This very day you
are to be married."
" I think not, sir," said Stephen mildly.
" For it is a thing that a man himself hears
about if it be true."
" But the King thinks so ; Stephen, have
you remarked, among my sister Osra's
ladies, a certain dark lady, with black hair
and eyes? I cannot describe her eyes."
" But you can tell me her name, sir," sug-
gested Stephen, who was a practical man.
" Her name? Oh, her name is Hilda
Hilda von Lauengram."
" Aye, I know the Countess Hilda. I
have made a bracelet for her."
" She is the most beautiful creature
alive!" cried Prince Henry, in a sudden
rapture and so loudly (being carried away
by his passion) that the girls heard him
6 The Heart of Princess Osra.
and wondered of whom he spoke with so
great an enthusiasm.
" To those to whom she seems such," ob-
served Stephen. "But, pray, how am I con-
cerned in all this, sir?"
The Prince's smile grew more bitter as
he answered :
" Why, you are to marry her. It was an
idle suggestion of Osra's, made in jest ; my
father is pleased to approve of it in earnest."
Then he bent in his saddle and went on
in a hurried urgent whisper : " I love her
better than my life, Stephen better than
heaven ; and my faith and word are pledged
to her ; and last night I was to have fled
with her for I knew better than to face the
old Lion but Osra found her making prep-
arations and we were discovered. Then
Osra was scornful, and the King mad, and
Rudolf laughed ; and when they talked of
what was to be done to her, Osra came in
with her laughing suggestion. It caught
the King's angry fancy, and he swore that
it should be so. And, since the Archbishop
is away, he has bidden the Bishop of Moden-
stein be at the palace at twelve to-day, and
you will be brought there also, and you
will be married to her. But, by heavens, I'll
have your blood if you are ! " With this
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 7
sudden outbreak of fury the Prince ended.
Yet a moment later* he put out his hand
to the smith, saying : " It's not your fault,
" That's true enough," said the smith ;
" for I have no desire to marry her ; and
it is not fitting that a lady of her birth
should mate with a smith ; she is of a great
house, and she would hate and despise
Prince Henry was about to assent when
his eye chanced to fall on Stephen the smith.
Now the smith was a very handsome man
handsomer, many said, than Prince Rudolf
himself, whom no lady could look on with-
out admiration ; he stood six feet and two
inches in his flat working shoes ; he was very
broad, and could leap higher and hurl a stone
farther than any man in Strelsau. More-
over he looked kind and gentle, yet was re-
puted to grow angry at times, and then to be
very dangerous. Therefore Prince Henry,
knowing (or thinking that he knew) the
caprices of women, and how they are caught
by this and that, was suddenly seized with
a terrible fear that the Countess Hilda
might not despise Stephen the smith. Yet
he did not express his fear, but said that it
was an impossible thing that a lady of the
8 The Heart of Princess Osra.
Countess's birth (for the House of Lauen-
gram was very noble) should wed a silver-
smith, even though he were as fine a fellow
as his good friend Stephen ; to which gra-
cious speech Stephen made no reply, but
stood very thoughtful, with his hand on the
neck of the chestnut mare. But at last he
said : "In any case it cannot be, for I am
" A wife ? Have you a wife ? " cried the
" No ; but my heart is bound," said
Stephen the smith.
" The King will make little of that. Yet
who is she ? Is she any of these girls who
stand looking at us ? "
" No, she is none of these," answered
Stephen, smiling as though such an idea
were very ludicrous.
" And are you pledged to her ? "
" I to her, but not she to me."
" But does she love you ? "
"I think it most unlikely," said Stephen
" The Lion will care nothing for this,"
groaned the Prince despondently. " They
will send for you in half an hour. For
heaven's sake spare her, Stephen ! "
"Spare her, sir?"
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 9
" Do not consent to marry her, however
urgently the King may command you."
The smith shook his head, smiling still.
Prince Henry rode sorrowfully away, spend-
ing not a glance on the bevy of girls who
watched him go ; and Stephen, turning
into his house, shut the door, and with one
great sigh set to work again on the nose
of Saint Peter.
" For anyhow," said he, " a man can
work." And after a long pause he added,
" I never thought to tell any one ; but if I
must, I must."
Now, sure enough, when the clock on the
Cathedral wanted a quarter of an hour of
noon, two of the King's Guard came and
bade Stephen follow them with all haste
to the palace ; and since they were very
urgent and no time was to be lost, he fol-
lowed them as he was, in his apron, without
washing his hands or getting rid of the dust
that hung about him from his work. How-
ever he had finished Saint Peter's nose and
all had gone well with it, so that he went
in a contented frame of mind, determined
to tell the whole truth to King Henry the
Lion sooner than be forced into a mar-
riage with the Countess Hilda von Lauen-
io The Heart of Princess Osra.
The Lion sat in his great chair ; he was
a very thin old man, with a face haggard
and deeply lined ; his eyes, set far back in
his head, glowed and glowered, and his
fingers pulled his sparse white beard. On
his right Prince Rudolf lolled on a low
seat, smiling at the play ; on his left sat
that wonderfully fair lady, the Princess
Osra, then in the first bloom of her young
beauty ; and she was smiling scornfully.
Prince Henry stood before his father, and
some yards from him was the Countess
Hilda, trembling and tearful, supported by
one of her companions ; and finally, since
the Archbishop was gone to Rome to get
himself a Scarlet Hat, the Bishop of Moden-
stein, a young man of noble family, was
there, most richly arrayed in choicest lace
and handsomest vestments, ready to per-
form the ceremony. Prince Rudolf had
beckoned the Bishop near him, and was jest-
ing with him in an undertone. The Bishop
laughed as a man laughs who knows he
should not laugh but cannot well help him-
self ; for Rudolf owned a pretty wit, al-
though it was sadly unrestrained.
The King's fury, having had a night and
a morning to grow cool in, had now settled
into a cold ironical mood, which argued no
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* n
less resolution than his first fierce wrath.
There was a grim smile on his face as he
addressed the smith, who, having bowed to
the company, was standing between the
Countess and Prince Henry.
" The House of Elphberg," said the King,
with mocking graciousness, " well recog-
nises your worth, Stephen, my friend. We
are indebted to you
11 It's a thousand crowns or more from
Prince Rudolf alone, sire," interrupted Ste-
phen, with a bow to the Prince he named.
" For much faithful service," pursued the
King, while Rudolf laughed again. " I
have therefore determined to reward you
with the hand of a lady who is, it may be,
above your station, but in no way above your
worth. Behold her ! Is she not hand-
some? On my word, I envy you, smith.
She is beautiful, young, high-born. You
are lucky, smith. Nay, no thanks. It is
but what you deserve and no more than
she deserves. Take her and be happy,"
and he ended with a snarling laugh, as he
waved his lean veined hand towards the
unhappy Countess, and fixed his sneering
eyes on the face of his son Henry, who had
turned pale as death, but neither spoke nor
12 The Heart of Princess Osra*
The Bishop of Modenstein he was of
the House of Hentzau, many of which have
been famous in history lifted up his hands
in horror at Rudolf's last whispered jest,
and then, advancing with a bow to the King,
asked if he were now to perform his sacred
" Aye, get on with it," growled the Lion,
not heeding the Countess's sobs or the
entreaty in his son's face. And the Prin-
cess Osra sat unmoved, the scornful smile
still on her lips ; it seemed as though she
had no pity for a brother who could stoop,
or for a girl who had dared to soar too high.
"Wait, wait!" said Stephen the smith.
" Does this lady love me, sire ? "
" Aye, she loves you enough for the pur-
pose, smith," grinned the King. " Do not
" May I ask her if she loves me, sire ? "
" Why, no, smith. Your King's word
must be enough for you."
" And your Majesty says that she loves
" I do say so, smith."
" Then," said Stephen, " I am very sorry
for her ; for as there's a heaven above us,
sire, I do not love her."
Prince Rudolf laughed ; Osra's smile
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 13
broadened in greater scorn ; the Countess
hid her face in her companion's bosom.
The old King roared out a gruff burst.
" Good, good ! " he chuckled. " But it will
come with marriage, smith ; for with mar-
riage love either comes or goes eh, son
Rudolf? and since in this case it cannot
go, you must not doubt, friend Stephen,
that it will come." And he threw himself
back in his chair, greatly amused that a
smith, when offered the hand of a Countess,
should hesitate to take it. He had not
thought of so fine a humiliation as this for
the presumptuous girl.
"That might well be, sire," admitted
Stephen, " were it not that I most passion-
ately love another."
" Our affections," said the King, " are
unruly things, smith, and must be kept in
subjection ; is it not so, son Rudolf ? "
" It should be so, sire," answered the
But the Princess Osra, whose eyes had
been scanning Stephen's figure, here broke
suddenly into the conversation.
" Are you pledged to her whom you love
so passionately ? " she asked.
" I have not ventured to tell her of my
love, madame," answered he, bowing low.
14 The Heart of Princess Osra*
" Then there is no harm done," observed
Prince Rudolf. " The harm lies in the
telling, not in the loving."
" Tell us something about her," com-
manded the Princess ; and the King, who
loved sport most when it hurt others,
chimed in : " Aye, let's hear about her whom
you prefer to this lady. In what shop does
she work, smith ? Or does she sell flowers ?
Or is she a serving-girl ? Come, listen,
Countess, and hear about your rival."
Prince Henry took one step forward in
uncontrolled anger ; but he could not meet
the savage mirth in the old man's eyes, and,
sinking into a chair, spread his hand across
his face. But Stephen, regarding the King
with placid good-humour, began to speak
of her whom he loved so passionately.
And his voice was soft as he spoke.
" She works in no shop, sire," said he,
"nor does she sell flowers, nor is she a
serving-girl ; though I would not care if
she were. But one day, when the clouds
hung dark over our street, she came riding
down it, and another girl with her. The
two stopped before my door, and, seeing
them, I came out
"It is more than you do for me," re-
marked Prince Rudolf.
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 15
Stephen smiled, but continued his story.
" I came out ; and she whom I love gave me
a bracelet to mend. And I, looking at her
rather than at the bracelet, said, 4 But al-
ready it is perfect.' But she did not hear,
for, when she had given me the bracelet, she
rode on again at once and took no more no-
tice of me than of the flies that were crawl-
ing up my wall. That was the first and is
the last time that I have spoken to her un-
til this day. But she was so beautiful that
there and then I swore that, until I had found
means and courage to tell her my love, and
until she had thrice refused it, I would
marry no other maiden nor speak a word of
" It seems to me," said Prince Rudolf,
" that the oath has some prudence in it ;
for if she prove obdurate, friend Stephen,
you will then be able to go elsewhere ;
many lovers swear more in temperately."
" But they do not keep their oaths," said
Stephen, with a shrewd look at the Prince.
" You had best let him alone, my son,"
said the old King. " He knows what all the
country knows of its future King."
"Then he may go and hang with all the
country," said the Prince peevishly.
But the Princess Osra leant a little for-
1 6 The Heart of Princess Osra*
ward towards Stephen, and the Countess
Hilda also looked covertly out from the
folds of her friend's dress at Stephen. And
the Princess said :
" Was she then so beautiful, this girl ?"
" As the sun in heaven, madame," said
" As beautiful as my pretty sister ? " asked
Rudolf in careless jest.
"Yes, as beautiful, sir," answered Stephen.
"Then," said the cruel old King, "very
much more beautiful than this Countess ? "
" Of that you must ask your son Henry,
sire," said Stephen discreetly.
" Nevertheless," said the King, " you must
put up with the Countess. We cannot all
have what we want in this world, can we,
son Henry?" and he chuckled again most
" Not, sire, till my lady has thrice refused
me," the smith reminded the King.
" Then she must be quick about it. For
we all, and my lord Bishop here, are wait-
ing. Send for her, Stephen by heaven, I
have a curiosity to see her ! "
" And, by heaven ! so have I, " added
Prince Rudolf with a merry smile. "And
poor Henry here may be cured by the
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 17
The Princess Osra leant a little further
forward, and said gently :
" Tell us her name, and we will send for
her. Indeed I also would like to see her"
" But if she refuses, I shall be worse off
than I am now ; and if she says yes, still
I must marry the Countess," objected the
" Nay," said the King, "if she does not
refuse you three times, you shall not marry
the Countess, but shall be free to try your
fortune with the girl ; " for the smith had
put the old Lion in a better temper, and he
thought he was to witness more sport.
"Since your Majesty is so good, I must
tell her name," said Stephen, " though !
had rather have declared my love to her-
" It is the pleasantest way," said Prince
Rudolf, " but the thing can be done in the
presence of others also."
" You must tell us her name that we may
send for her," said the Princess, her eyes
wandering now from the Countess to the
smith, and back to the Countess again.
" Well, then," said Stephen sturdily, "the
lady who came riding down the street and
took away my heart with her is called Osra,
and her father is named Henry."
i8 The Heart of Princess Osra.
A moment or two passed before they
understood what the smith had said. Then
the old King fell into a fit of laughter,
half choked by coughing ; Prince Rudolf
clapped his hands in merry mockery, and a
deep flush spread over the face of the Prin-
cess ; while the Countess, her companion,
and the younger Prince seemed too aston-
ished to do anything but stare. As for
Stephen, having said what he had to say,
he held his peace a thing in him which
many men, and women also, would do well
to imitate ; and, if they cannot, let them
pray for the grace that is needful. Heaven
The old King, having recovered from his
fit of laughing, looked round on the smith
with infinite amusement, and, turning to his
daughter, he said : " Come, Osra, you have
heard the declaration. It remains only for
you to satisfy our good friend's conscience
by refusing him three times. For then he
will be free to do our pleasure and make
the Countess Hilda happy."
The heart of women is, as it would seem,
a strange thing ; for the Princess Osra,
hearing what the smith had said and learn-
ing that he had fallen passionately in love
with her on the mere sight of her beauty,
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 19
suddenly felt a tenderness for him and a
greater admiration than she had entertained
before ; and although she harboured no ab-
surd idea of listening to his madness, or of
doing anything in the world but laugh at it
as it deserved, yet there came on her a
strange dislike of the project that she had
herself, in sport, suggested : namely, that
the smith should be married immediately to
the Countess Hilda by the Lord Bishop of
Modenstein. The fellow, this smith, had
an eye for true beauty, it seemed. It would
be hard to tie him down to this dusky,
black-maned girl ; for so the Princess de-
scribed the lady whom her brother loved,
she herself being, like most of the Elph-
bergs, rather red than black in color. Ac-
cordingly, when the King spoke to her, she
said fretfully :
" Am I to be put to refuse the hand of
such a fellow as this ? Why, to refuse him
is a stain on my dignity ! " And she looked
" Yet you must grant him so much be-
cause of his oath," said the King.
"Well, then, I refuse him," said she tartly,
and she turned her eyes away from him.
" That is once," said Stephen the smith
calmly, and he fixed his eyes on the Princess's
20 The Heart of Princess Osra
face. She felt his gaze, her eyes were drawn
back to his, and she exclaimed angrily :
" Yes, I refuse him," and again she
looked away. But he looked still more in-
tently at her, waiting for the third refusal.
" It is as easy to say no three times as
twice," said the King.
" For a man, sire," murmured Prince
Rudolf ; for he was very learned in the per-
ilous knowledge of a woman's whims, and,
maybe, read something of what was passing
in his sister's heart. Certainly he looked at
her and laughed, and said to the King :
" Sire, I think this smith is a clever man,
for what he really desires is to wed the
Countess, and to do it without disobliging
my brother. Therefore he professes this
ridiculous passion, knowing well that Osra
will refuse him, and that he will enjoy the
great good fortune of marrying the Coun-
tess against his will. Thus he will obey
you and be free from my brother's anger.
In truth, you're a crafty fellow, Master Ste-
"There is no craft, sir," said Stephen.
" I have told nothing but the truth."
But the King swore a loud oath, crying :
" Aye, that there is ! Rudolf has hit the
mark. Yet I do not grudge him his good
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 21
luck. Refuse him, Osra, and make him
But the dark flush came anew on the
Princess's face, for now she did not know
whether the smith really loved her or
whether he had been making a jest of her
in order to save himself in the eyes of her
brother Henry, and it became very intoler-
able to her to suppose that the smith de-
sired the Countess, and had lied in what he
said about herself, making a tool of her.
Again, it was hardly more tolerable to give
him to the Countess, in case he truly loved
herself ; so that her mind was very greatly
disturbed, and she was devoured with eager-
ness to know the reality of the smith's feel-
ings towards her ; for, although he was only
a smith, yet he was a wonderfully hand-
some man in truth, it was curious that she
had not paid attention to his looks before.
Thus she was reluctant to refuse him a
third time, when the Bishop of Moden-
stein stood there, waiting only for her word
to marry him to the Countess ; and she
rose suddenly from her seat and walked to-
wards the door of the room, and, when she
had almost reached the door, she turned
her head over her shoulder and cast one
smile at Stephen the smith. As she glanced,
22 The Heart of Princess Osra*
the blush again mounted to her face, making
her so lovely that her father wondered,
and she said in arch softness : " I'll refuse
him the third time some other day ; two de-
nials are enough for one day," and with that
she passed through the door and vanished
from their sight.
The King and Rudolf, who had seen the
glance that she cast at Stephen, fell to
laughing again, swearing to one another
that a woman was a woman all the world over,
whereat the lips of the Bishop twitched.
" But the marriage can't go on," cried
Rudolf at last.
" Let it rest for to-day," said the King,
whose anger was past. " Let it rest. The
Countess shall be guarded ; and, since this
young fool" (and he pointed to his son
Henry) " will not wander while she is caged,
let him go where he will. Then as soon as
Osra has refused the smith a third time, we
will send for the Bishop."
" And what am I to do, sire ? " asked Ste-
phen the smith.
" Why, my son-in-law that would be,"
chuckled the King, " you may go back to
where you came from till I send for you
So Stephen, having thanked the King,
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 23
went back home, and, sitting down to the
chasing of a cup, became very thoughtful;
for it seemed to him that the Countess had
been hardly treated, and that the Prince de-
served happiness, and that the Princess was
yet more lovely than his eyes had found
Thus, in his work and his meditations, the
afternoon wore away fast. So goes time
when hand and head are busy.
The Princess Osra walked restlessly up
and down the length of her bed-chamber.
Dinner was done and it was eight o'clock,
and, the season being late October, it had
grown dark. She had come thither to be
alone ; yet, now that she was alone, she could
not rest. He was an absurd fellow that
smith ! Yes, she thought him fully as hand-
some as her brother Rudolf. But what did
Henry find to love in the black-brown Hilda ?
She could not understand a man caring for
such a colour ; a blackamoor would serve as
well ! Ah, what had that silly smith meant ?
It must have been a trick, as Rudolf said.
Yet when he spoke first of her riding down
the street, there was a look in his eyes that a
man can hardly put there of his own will.
Did the silly fellow then really ? Nay,
24 The Heart of Princess Osra*
that was absurd ; she prayed that it might
not be true, for she would not have the poor
fool unhappy. Nay, he was no fool. It
was a trick, then ! How dared the insolent
knave use her for his tricks ? Was there no
other maiden in Strelsau whose name would
have served ? Must he lay his tongue to
the name of a daughter of the Elphbergs ?
The fellow deserved flogging, if it were a
trick. Ah, was it a trick? Or was it the
truth? Oh, in heaven's name, which was
it ? And the Princess tore the delicate silk
of her ivory fan to shreds, and flung the
naked sticks with a clatter on the floor.
" I can't rest till I know," she cried, as
she came to a stand before a lo-ng mirror
let into the panel of the wall, and saw her-
self at full length in it. As she looked a
smile came, parting her lips, and she threw
her head back as she said : " I will go and
ask the smith what he meant." And she
smiled again at her own face in triumphant
daring ; for when she looked, she thought,
" I know what he meant ! Yet I will hear
from himself what he meant."
Stephen the smith sat alone in his house ;
his apprentices were gone, and he himself
neither worked nor supped, but sat still and
idle by his hearth. The street was silent
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 25
also, for it rained and nobody was about.
Then suddenly came a light timid rap at
the door ; so light was it that the smith
doubted if he had really heard, but it came
again and he rose leisurely and opened the
door. Even as he did so a slight tall figure
slipped by him, an arm pulled him back, the
door was pushed close again, and he was
alone inside the house with a lady wrapped
in a long riding-cloak, and so veiled that
nothing of her face could be seen.
" Welcome, madame," said Stephen the
smith ; and he drew a chair forward and
bowed to his visitor. He was not wearing
his apron now, but was dressed in a well-
cut suit of brown cloth and had put on a
pair of silk stockings. He might have
been expecting visitors, so carefully had he
" Do you know who I am?" asked the
" Since I was a baby, madame," answered
the smith, " I have known the sun when I
saw it, even though clouds dimmed its face."
A corner of the veil was drawn down, and
one eye gleamed in frightened mirth.
" Nobody knows I have come," said Osra.
" And you do not know why I have come."
" Is it to answer me for the third time ? "
26 The Heart of Princess Osra.
asked he, drawing a step nearer, yet observ-
ing great deference in his manner.
" It is not to answer at all, but to ask.
But I am very silly to have come. What is
it to me what you meant ?"
" I cannot conceive that it could be any-
thing, madame," said Stephen, smiling.
"Yet some think her beautiful my
brother Henry, for example."
" We must respect the opinions of
Princes," observed the smith.
" Must we share them ?" she asked, draw-
ing the veil yet a little aside.
" We can share nothing we humble folk
with Princes or Princesses, madame."
" Yet we can make free with their names,
though humbler ones would serve as well."
" No other would have served at all, ma-
" Then you meant it ? " she cried in sud-
den half-serious eagerness.
" Nay, but what, madame ? "
" I don't care whether you meant it or
" Alas ! I know it so well, that I marvel
you have come to tell me."
The Princess rose and began to walk up
and down as she had in her own chamber.
Stephen stood regarding her as though
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 27
God had made his eyes for that one pur-
" The thing is nothing," she declared
petulantly, " but I have a fancy to ask it.
Stephen, was it a trick, or or was it really
so ? Come, answer me ! I can't spend
much time on it."
" It is not worth a thought to you. If
you say no a third time, all will be well."
"You will marry the Countess?"
"Can I disobey the King, madame?"
" I am very sorry for her," said the Prin-
cess. "A lady of her rank should not be
forced to marry a silversmith."
" Indeed I thought so all along. There-
"You played the trick?" she cried in
Stephen made no answer for a time,
then he said softly : "If she loves the
Prince and he her, why should they not
marry ? "
" Because his birth is above hers."
" I am glad, then, that I am of no birth,
for I can marry whom I will."
" Are you so happy and so free, Ste-
phen?" sighed the Princess ; and there was
no more of the veil left than served to
frame the picture of her face.
28 The Heart of Princess Osra.
" So soon as you have refused me the
third time, madame," bowed the smith.
" Will you not answer me?" cried the
Princess ; and she smiled no more, but was
as eager as though she were asking some
" Bring the Countess here to-morrow at
this time," said Stephen, "and I will answer."
" You wish, perhaps, to make a compari-
son between us ? " she asked haughtily.
" I cannot be compelled to answer ex-
cept on my own terms," said the smith.
" Yet if you will refuse me once again, the
thing will be finished."
" I will refuse you," she cried, "when I
" But you will bring the Countess, ma-
"I am very sorry for her. I have be-
haved ill to her, Stephen, though I meant
only to jest."
" There is room for amends, madame,"
The Princess looked long and curiously
in his face, but he met her glance with a
" It grows late," said he, " and you should
not be here longer, madame. Shall I escort
you to the palace ? "
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 29
" And have every one asking with whom
Stephen the smith walks ? No, I will go
as I came. You have not answered me,
"And you have not refused me, ma-
" Will you answer me to-morrow when
I come with the Countess ? "
" Yes, I will answer then."
The Princess had drawn near to the door;
now Stephen opened it for her to pass out ;
and as she crossed the threshold, she said :
" And I will refuse you then perhaps ; "
with which she darted swiftly down the
dark, silent, shining street, and was gone ;
and Stephen, having closed the door, passed
his hand twice over his brow, sighed thrice,
smiled once, and set about the preparation
of his supper.
On the next night, as the Cathedral clock
struck nine, there arose a sudden tumult and
excitement in the palace. King Henry the
Lion was in such a rage as no man had
ever seen him in before ; even Rudolf, his
son, did not dare to laugh "at him ; courtiers,
guards, attendants, lackeys, ran wildly to
and fro in immense fear and trepidation.
A little later, and a large company of the
King's Guard filed out, and, under the com-
30 The Heart of Princess Osra*
mand of various officers, scattered them-
selves through the whole of Strelsau, while
five mounted men rode at a gallop to each of
the five gates of the city, bearing commands
that the gates should be closed, and no
man, woman, or child be allowed to pass
out without an order under the hand of the
King's Marshal. And the King swore by
heaven, and by much else, that he would
lay them that is to say, the persons whose
disappearance caused all this hubbub by
the heels, and that they should know that
there was life in the Lion yet ; whereat
Prince Rudolf looked as serious as he
could contrive to look for he was wonder-
fully amused and called for more wine.
And the reason of the whole thing was
no other than this, that the room of the
Princess Osra was empty, and the room
of the Countess Hilda was empty, and no-
body had set eyes on Henry, the King's
son, for the last two hours or more. Now
these facts were, under the circumstances
of the case, enough to upset a man of a
temper far more equable than was old King
Henry the Lion.
Through all the city went the Guards,
knocking at every door, disturbing some at
their suppers, some from their beds, some
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 31
in the midst of revelry, some who toiled
late for a scanty livelihood. When the
doors were not opened briskly, the Guard
without ceremony broke them in ; they
ransacked every crevice and cranny of every
house, and displayed the utmost zeal im-
aginable ; nay, one old lady they so terrified
that she had a fit there where she lay in
bed, and did not recover for the best part
of a month. And thus, having traversed all
the city and set the whole place in stir and
commotion, they came at last to the street
where Stephen lived, and to the sign of the
" Silver Ship," where he carried on the busi-
ness bequeathed to him by Aaron Lazarus
" Rat, tat, tat ! " came thundering on the
door from the sword-hilt of the Sergeant in
command of the party.
There was no answer ; no light shone
from the house, for the window was closely
shuttered. Again the Sergeant hammered
on the door.
" This pestilent smith is gone to bed," he
cried in vexation. " But we must leave no
house unsearched. Come, we must break
in the door ! " and he began to examine the
door, and found that it was a fine solid
door, of good oak and clamped with iron.
32 The Heart of Princess Osra*
" Phew, we shall have a job with this
door ! " he sighed. " Why, in the devil's
name, doesn't the fellow answer ? Stephen,
Stephen ! Ho, there ! Stephen ! "
Yet no answer came from the inside of
But at this moment another sound struck
sharp on the ears of the Sergeant and his
men. It was the noise of flames crackling ;
from the house next to Stephen's (which
belonged to him, but was inhabited by a
fruit-seller) there welled out smoke in vol-
umes from every window ; and the fruit-
seller and his family appeared at the win-
dows calling for aid. Seeing this, the Ser-
geant blew very loudly the whistle that he
carried and cried " Fire ! " and bade his men
run and procure a ladder ; for plainly the
fruit-seller's house was on fire, and it was a
more urgent matter to rescue men and
women from burning than to find the Coun-
tess and the Prince. Presently the ladder
came, and a great crowd of people, roused
by the whistle and the cries of fire, came
also ; and then the door of Stephen's house
was opened, and Stephen himself, looking
out, asked what was the matter. Being
told that the next house was on fire, he
turned very grave for the house was his
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith. 33
and waited for a moment to watch the fruit-
seller and his family being brought down
the ladder, which task was safely and pros-
perously accomplished. But the Sergeant
said to him : " The fire may well spread,
and if there is anyone in your house, it would
be prudent to get them out."
" That is well thought of," said Stephen
approvingly. " I was working late with
three apprentices, and they are still in the
house." And he put his head in at his
door and called : " You had better come
out, lads, the fire may spread." But the
Sergeant turned away again and busied him-
self in putting the fire out.
Then three lads, one being very tall,
came out of Stephen's house, clad in their
leather breeches, their aprons, and the close-
fitting caps that apprentices wore ; and for a
moment they stood watching the fire at the
fruit-seller's. Then, seeing that the fire was
burning low which it did very quickly
they did not stay till the attention of the
Sergeant was released from it, but, accom-
panied by Stephen, turned down the street,
and, going along at a brisk rate, rounded
the corner and came into the open space in
front of the Cathedral.
" The gates will be shut, I fear," said the
34 The Heart of Princess Osra.
tallest apprentice. " How came the fire,
" It was three or four trusses of hay, sir,
and a few crowns to repair his scorched
paint. Shall we go to the gate ?"
" Yes, we must try the gate," said Prince
Henry, gathering the hand of the Countess
into his ; and the third apprentice walked
silently by Stephen's side. Yet once as she
went, she said softly :
" So it was no trick, Stephen ?"
" No trick, but the truth, madame," said
" I do not know," said Osra, " how I am
to return to the palace in these clothes."
> " Let us get your brother and the
Countess away first," counselled the smith.
Now when they came to the nearest gate
it was shut ; but at the moment a troop of
mounted men rode up, having been sent by
the King to scour the country round, in case
the fugitives should have escaped already
from the city. And the Commandant of
the company bore an order from the King's
Marshal for the opening of the gate. See-
ing this, Stephen the smith went up to him
and began to talk to him, the three appren-
tices standing close by, The Commandant
knew Stephen well, and was pleased to talk
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 35
with him while the gates were opened and
the troopers filed through. Stephen kept
close by him till the troopers were all
through. Then he turned and spoke to
the apprentices, and they nodded assent.
The Commandant checked his horse for an
instant when he was half-way through the
fate, and bent down and took Stephen's
and to shake it in farewell. Stephen took
his hand with marvellous friendliness, and
held it, and would not let him go. But the
apprentices edged cautiously nearer and
nearer the gate.
" Enough, man, enough ! " laughed the
Commandant. " We are not parting for
" I trust not, sir, I trust not," said Stephen
earnestly, still holding his hand.
" Come, let me go. See, the gate-warden
wants to shut the gate ! "
" True ! " said Stephen. " Good-bye then,
sir. Hallo, hallo ! stop, stop ! Oh, the
young rascals ! "
For even as Stephen spoke, two of the
apprentices had darted through the half-
closed gate, and run swiftly forward into
the gloom of the night. Stephen swore an
" The rogues ! " he cried. " They were
36 The Heart of Princess Osra*
to have worked all night to finish an image
of Our Lady ! And now I shall see no
more of them till to-morrow ! They shall
pay for their prank then, by heaven they
shall !" But the Commandant laughed.
, " I am sorry I can't catch them for you,
friend Stephen," said he, "but I have other
fish to fry. Well, boys will be boys. Don't
be too hard on them when they return."
" They must answer for what they do,"
said Stephen ; and the Commandant rode
on and the gates were shut.
Then the Princess Osra said :
" Will they escape, Stephen ?"
" They have money in their purses, love
in their hearts, and an angry King behind
them. I should travel quickly, madame, if
I were so placed."
The Princess looked through the grating
of the gate.
"Yes," she said, "they have all those.
How happy they must be, Stephen ! But
what am I to do ? "
Stephen made no answer and they walked
back in silence to his house. It may be
that they were wondering whether Prince
Henry and the Countess would escape.
Yet it may be that they thought of some-
thing else. When they reached the house,
STEPHEN STOOD ON THE THRESHOLD WITH HIS STAFF IN HIS HAND." Page .tf.
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 37
Stephen bade the Princess go into the inner
room and resume her own dress that she
might return to the palace, and that it
might not be known where she had been
nor how she had aided her brother to evade
the King's prohibition ; and when she, still
strangely silent, went in as he bade her, he
took his great staff in his hand, and stood
on the threshold of the house, his head
nearly touching the lintel and his shoulders
filling almost all the space between door-
post and door-post.
When he had stood there a little while,
the same Sergeant of the Guard, recollect-
ing (now that the fire at the fruit-seller's
was out) that he had never searched the
house of the smith, came again with his
four men, and told Stephen to stand aside
and allow him to enter the house.
" For I must search it," he said, " or my
orders will not be performed."
" Those whom you seek are not here,"
" That I must see for myself," answered
the Sergeant. '' Come, smith, stand aside."
When the Princess heard the voices out-
side, she put her head round the door of
the inner room, and cried in great alarm to
38 The Heart of Princess Osra*
" They must not come in, Stephen. At
any cost they must not come in ! "
" Do not be afraid, madame, they shall
not come in," said he.
" I heard a voice in the house," exclaimed
" It is nothing uncommon to hear in a
house," said Stephen, and he grasped more
firmly his great staff.
" Will you make way for us?" demanded
the Sergeant. " For the last time, will you
make way ? "
Stephen's eyes kindled ; for though he
was a man of peace, yet his strength was
great and he loved sometimes to use it ;
and above all, he loved to use it now at
the bidding and i - protection of his dear
Princess. So he answered the Sergeant
from between set teeth :
" Over my dead body you can come in."
Then the Sergeant drew his sword and
his men set their halberds in rest, and the
Sergeant, crying, " In the King's name!"
came at Stephen with drawn sword and
struck fiercely at him. But Stephen let
the great staff drop on the Sergeant's
shoulder, and the Sergeant's arm fell pow-
erless by his side. Thereupon the Guards
cried aloud, and people began to come out
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 39
of their houses, seeing that there was a fight
at Stephen's door. And Stephen's eyes
gleamed, and when the Guards thrust at
him, he struck at them, and two of them
he stretched senseless on the ground ; for
his height and reach were such that he
struck them before they could come near
enough to touch him, and having no fire-
arms they could not bring him down.
The Princess, now fully dressed in her
own garments, came out into the outer room,
and stood there looking at Stephen. Her
bosom rose and fell, and her eyes grew dim
as she looked ; and growing very eager, and
being very much moved, she kept murmur-
ing to -herself, " I have not said no thrice ! "
And she spent no thought on the Countess
or her brother, nor on how she was to return
undetected to the palace, but saw only the
figure of Stephen on the threshold, and
heard only the cries of the Guards who
assaulted him. It seemed to her a brave
thing to have such a man to fight for her,
and to offer his life to save her shame.
Old King Henry was not a patient man,
and when he had waited two hours without
news of son, daughter, or Countess, he flew
into a mighty passion and sent one for his
horse, and another for Rudolf's horse, and
4 The Heart of Princess Osra.
a third for Rudolf himself ; and he drank a
draught of wine, and called to Rudolf to
accompany him, that they might see for
themselves what the lazy hounds of Guards
were doing, that they had not yet come up
with the quarry. Prince Rudolf laughed
and yawned and wished his brother at the
devil, but mounted his horse and rode with
the King. Thus they traversed the city,
riding swiftly, the old King furiously up-
braiding every officer and soldier whom he
met ; then they rode to the gate ; and all
the gate-wardens said that nobody had
gone out, save that one gate-warden ad-
mitted that two apprentices of Stephen the
silversmith had contrived to slip out when
the gates were open to let the troopers
pass. But the King made nothing of it,
and, turning with his son, rode up the street
where Stephen lived. Here they came
suddenly into the midst of a crowd, that
filled all the roadway, and would hardly let
the horses move even at a foot's pace.
The King cried out angrily, " What is this
tumult ? "
Then the people Icnew him, and, since
common folk are always anxious to serve
and commend themselves to the great, a
score began all at once to tell him what
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith. 41
had happened, some starting with the fire,
some going straight to the fight ; and the
King could not make head or tail of the
babel of voices and different stories. And
Prince Rudolf dropped his reins and sat
on his horse laughing. But the King, his
patience being clean gone, drew his sword
and cried fiercely, " Make way ! " and set
his spurs to his horse, not recking whether
he hurt any man in life or limb. Thus he
gained a passage through the crowd, and
came near to Stephen's house, Prince Ru-
dolf following in his wake, still greatly
amused at all that was happening.
But the sight they saw there arrested
even Prince Rudolfs smiles, and he raised
himself in his stirrups with a sudden cry
of wonder. For four more of the Guard
had come, and there were now six standing
round the doorway, and three lay stretched
on the ground ; but Stephen the smith
still stood on the threshold, with his staff in
his hand. Blood flowed from a wound in
his head, but he twirled the staff to and
fro, and was not weary, and none of the
Guard dared to rush in and close with him.
Thus he had held the threshold for an
hour ; yet the Princess Osra could not
escape unless he could drive off the Guard
42 The Heart of Princess Osra*
for a few moments, and this he hoped to
do, thinking that they might draw off and
wait for reinforcements ; but in any case he
had sworn that they should not pass. And
Osra did not pray him to let them pass, but
stood motionless in the middle of the room
behind him, her hands clasped, her face
rigid, and her eyes all aflame with admira-
tion of his strength and his courage.
Thus matters were when the old King
and Prince Rudolf broke through the crowd
that ringed the house round, and the King
cried out, asking what was the meaning of
all that he saw.
But when the King heard that Stephen
the smith resisted the officers, would not
suffer his house to be searched, had stretched
three of the Guards senseless on the ground,
and still more than held his own, he fell
into a great rage ; he roared out on them
all, calling them cowards, and, before his
son or any one else could stop him, he
drew his sword, and dug his spurs into his
horse ; the horse bounded forward and
knocked clown one of the Guards who stood
round Stephen. Then the King, neither
challenging Stephen to yield, nor giving
him time to stand aside, being carried away
by passion, raised his sword and rode full
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 43
at him. And the Princess from within
caught sight of his face, and she fell on her
knees with a moan and hid her face. Then
Stephen saw that it was the King and none
other who rode against him ; and even had
the King given him time, it may be that
he would not have yielded, for he was a
very resolute man, and he had pledged his
promise to Osra the Princess. But he had
no time for thought, for the King was on
him in the space of a second, and he could
do nothing but drop the staff that he held,
and stand defenceless in the doorway ; for
he would neither strike the King nor yield
the passage. But the King, in his fury not
heeding that Stephen had dropped his staff,
drew back his arm and lunged with his
sword, and thrust the smith through the
chest ; and Stephen reeled and fell on one
knee, and his blood flowed out on the
stone of the doorstep. Then the King
reined in his horse, and sat looking down
on Stephen ; but Rudolf leapt to the
ground, and came and caught hold of Ste-
phen, supporting him, and asking, " What
does it mean, man, what does it mean ? "
Then Stephen, being very faint with his
wound, said with difficulty : " Come in alone
you and the King alone."
44 The Heart of Princess Osra.
Prince Rudolf looked at the King, who
sheathed his sword and dismounted from
his horse ; the Prince supported Stephen
inside the house, and the King followed
them, shutting the door on all the people
Then King Henry saw his daughter,
crouching now in the middle of the room,
her face hidden in her hands. Surprise and
wonder banished his rage and he could not
do more than gasp her name, while the
Prince, who knelt supporting Stephen, cried
to her, asking how she came there ; but she
answered nothing. She took her hands
from her face and looked at Stephen ; and
when she saw that he was hurt and bleeding,
she fell to sobbing and hid her face again.
And she did not know whether she would
have him live or die ; for if he lived he could
not be hers, and if he died her heart would
ache sorely for him. Then Stephen, being
supported by the arms of Prince Rudolf,
made shift to speak, and he told the King
how, at his persuasion, the Princess had
brought the Countess thither ; how he him-
self had contrived the presence of the Prince
at the same time, how again the Princess
had been prevailed upon to aid the lovers ;
how they assumed the' disguise of appren-
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 45
tices ; and how, hearing the arrival of the
Guard, they had escaped out into the street ;
aud lastly, how that the Prince and the
Countess had got out of the city. But he
said nothing of the fire at the fruit-seller's,
nor of how he himself had bribed the fruit-
seller to set the hay on fire, speaking to him
from the back windows of the house, and
flinging a purse of gold pieces across to
him ; nor did this ever become known to the
King. And when Stephen had said his say,
he fell back very faint in the arms of the
Prince ; and the Prince tore a scarf from
his waist, and tried to staunch the blood
from Stephen's wound. But the old King,
who was a hard man, smiled grimly.
" Indeed he has tricked us finely, this
smith, and he is a clever fellow," said he ;
" but unless he would rather hang than bleed
to death, let his wound be, Rudolf. For by
heaven, if you cure him, I will hang him."
" Do not be afraid, sire," said Stephen ;
" the Prince cannot cure me. You still
strike straight, though you are hard on
" Straight enough for a rascal like you,"
said the King well pleased ; and he added,
" Hold the fellow easily, Rudolf, I would
not have him suffer." And this was, they
46 The Heart of Princess Osra.
say, the only time in all his life that Henry
the Lion shewed a sign of pity to any
But Stephen was now very faint, and he
cast his eyes towards the Princess ; and
Rudolf followed his eyes. Now Rudolf had
an affection for Stephen, and he loved his
sister, and was a man of soft heart ; so he
cried gently to Osra, " Come, sister, and
help me with him." And she rose, and
came and sat down by the wall, and gathered
Stephen's head into her lap ; and there he
lay, looking up at her, with a smile on his
lips. But still he bled, and his blood stained
the white cloak that she wore over her robe ;
and her tears dropped on his face. But
Rudolf took his father by the arm, and led
him a little way off, saying :
" What matter, sire ? The girl is young,
and the man is dying. Let them be."
The old King, grumbling, let himself be
led away ; and perhaps even he was moved,
for he forgot Prince Henry and the Coun-
tess, and did not think of sending men in
pursuit of them, for which reason they ob-
tained a fair and long start in their flight.
Then Stephen, looking up at Osra, said :
" Do not weep, madame. They will es-
cape now, and they will be happy."
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 47
" I was not weeping for them," said the
Stephen was silent for a little, and then
he said :
" In very truth it was no trick, madame ;
it was even as I said, from the first day that
you rode along the street here ; it was al-
ways the same in my heart, and would
always have been, however long I had.
" I do not doubt it, Stephen ; and it is
not for doubt of it that I weep," said she.
Then, after a little while, he said :
" Do you weep, madame, because I am
"Yes, I weep for that."
"Would you have me live, madame ?"
" No, I would not no but I do not
know," she said.
Then Stephen the smith smiled, and his
smile was happy.
" Yet," said he, " it would make small
difference to the Princess Osra whether Ste-
phen the smith lived or died."
At this, although he lay there a dying
man, a sudden flush of red spread all over
her cheeks, and she turned her eyes away
from his, and would not meet his glance ;
48 The Heart of Princess Osra.
she made him no answer, and he said
"What can it concern the Princess
whether I live or die ? "
Still the blush burnt on her cheek, and
still she had no answer to give to Stephen,
as he lay dying with his head on her lap.
And a bright gleam came into his eyes, and
he tried to move a hand towards her hand ;
and she, seeing the effort, put out her hand
and held his ; and he whispered very low,
for he could hardly speak :
" You have not yet refused me three times,
At that her eyes came back to his, and
their eyes dwelt long on one another. And
for a moment it seemed to them that all
things became possible, life and joy and
love. Yet since all could not be, they were
content that none should be.
Then the Princess bent low over his head,
and she whispered to him :
" No, I have not refused you thrice, Ste-
His lips just moved once again, and, being
very near him, she heard :
" And you will not ?" he said.
" No," said she, and she kissed his lips,
and he smiled and turned on his side ; and
The Happiness of Stephen the Smith* 49
he nestled his head, as it were cosily, on
her lap, and he said no more.
Thus died Stephen the silversmith of
Strelsan, happy in his death because Osra
the Princess had not refused him thrice.
And she laid him gently on the ground, and
rose, and went across to where the King sat
" Sire, he is dead," said she.
" It is well," said the King. And he bade
Rudolf go and cause all the people to leave
the streets, and return to their houses ; and
when all the streets were cleared, the Prin-
cess veiled herself, and her brother mounted
her on his horse, and thus she rode back to
the palace ; and none knew that she had
been in the house of Stephen the silver-
And after many months Prince Henry,
who had made good his escape and married
the lady whom he loved, was reconciled to
his father and returned to the city of Strel-
sau. And when he heard how Stephen had
died, he raised a stately monument over him,
and had carved on it his name, and the day
and year in which he had died ; and under-
neath he caused to be engraved the words,
" From a Friend to a Friend." But when
this monument had stood three days in its
$o The Heart of Princess Osra*
place, there came thither a lady closely
veiled ; she prayed on her knees by the mon-
ument for a long while, and then rose and
stood regarding it ; and her eyes rested on
the last words that Prince Henry had
written on the stone. Then she came nearer,
and kissed the words, and, when she had
kissed them, she whispered softly, " From a
Lover to a Lover " ; and, having whispered
this, she turned away and went back to the
palace, and came no more to the tomb, for
fear that the people should remark her com-
ing. Yet often in the days that followed
she would open the window of her bed-
chamber by night, and she would whisper
to the silent trusty darkness, that holds
secrets and comforts sore hearts :
" Not thrice, Stephen, not thrice ! "
Therefore it may be that there had been
a sweet madness in her heart, and that
Stephen the silversmith had done a great
thing, a thing that would appear impossible,
before he died. And, as Prince Rudolf said,
what matter ? For the girl was young, and
the dream was sweet, and the man was dead,
and in death at last are all men equal.
The Wager of the Marquis de Merosailles*
IN the year 1734, as spring began, there
arrived at Strelsau a French nobleman of
high rank and great possessions, endowed
also with many accomplishments. He came
to visit Prince Rudolf, whose acquaintance
he had made while the Prince was at Paris
in the course of his travels. King Henry
received M. de Merosailles for such was
his name most graciously, and sent a guard
of honour to conduct him to the Castle of
Zenda, where the Prince was then staying
in company with his sister Osra. There
the Marquis, on his arrival, was greeted
with much joy by Prince Rudolf, who found
his sojourn in the country somewhat irk-
some and was glad of the society of a
friend with whom he could talk, and sport,
and play at cards. All these things he did
with M. de Merosailles, and a great friend-
ship arose between the young men, so that
they spoke very freely to one another at all
5 2 The Heart of Princess Osra.
times, and most of all when they had drunk
their wine and sat together in the evening
in Prince Rudolfs chamber that looked
across the moat towards the gardens ; for
the new chdteau that now stands on the site
of these gardens was not then built. And
one night M. de Merosailles made bold to
ask the Prince how it fell out that his sister
the Princess, a lady of such great beauty,
seemed sad, and shewed no pleasure in the
society of any gentleman, but treated all
alike with coldness and disdain. Prince
Rudolf, laughing, answered that girls were
strange creatures, and that he had ceased
to trouble his head about them (of his heart
he said nothing) and he finished by exclaim-
ing : "On my honour, I doubt if she so
much as knows you are here, for she has
not looked at you once since your arrival ! "
And he smiled maliciously, for he knew that
the Marquis was not accustomed to be neg-
lected by ladies, and would take it ill that
even a Princess should be unconscious of
his presence. In this he calculated rightly,
for M. de Merosailles was greatly vexed,
and, twisting his glass in his fingers, he said :
" If she were not a Princess, and your
sister, sir, I would engage to make her look
The Wager of the Marquis de Merosailles* 53
" I am not hurt by her looking at you,"
rejoined the Prince : for that evening he
was very merry. " A look is no great
The Marquis, being no less merry, and
knowing that Rudolf had not the regard for
his dignity that a Prince should have, threw
out carelessly :
" A kiss is more, sir."
"It is a great deal more," laughed the
Prince, tugging his moustache.
" Are you ready for a wager, sir ? " asked
M. de Merosailles, leaning across the table
" I'll lay you a thousand crowns to a
hundred that you do not gain a kiss, using
what means you will, save force."
" I'll take that wager, sir," cried the Mar-
quis. " But it shall be three, not one."
" Have a care," said the Prince. " Don't
go too near the flame, my lord ! There are
some wings in Strelsau singed at that can-
" Indeed the light is very bright," as-
sented the Marquis courteously. " That
risk I must run, though, if I am to win my
wager. It is to be three then, and by what
means I will, save force?"
" Even so," said Rudolf, and he laughed
54 The Heart of Princess Osra*
again. For he thought the wager harmless,
since by no device could M. de Merosailles
win so much as one kiss from the Princess
Osra, and the wager stood at three. But he
did not think how he wronged his sister by
using her name lightly, being in all such
matters a man of careless mind.
But the Marquis, having made his wager,
set himself steadily to win it. Therefore he
brought forth the choicest clothes from his
wardrobe, and ornaments, and perfumes ;
and he laid fine presents at the Princess's
feet ; and he waylaid her wherever she went,
and was profuse of glances, sighs, and hints ;
and he wrote sonnets, as fine gentlemen used
in those days, and lyrics and pastorals,
wherein she figured under charming names.
These he bribed the Princess's waiting-
women to leave in their mistress's chamber.
Moreover he looked now sorrowful, now
passionate, and he ate nothing at dinner,
but drank his wine in wild gulps, as though
he sought to banish sadness. So that, in a
word, there was no device in Cupid's
armoury that the Marquis de Merosailles
did not practise in the endeavour to win a
look from the Princess Osra. But no look
came, and he got nothing from her but cold
civility. Yet she had looked at him when
The Wager of the Marquis de Merosailles* 55
he looked not for Princesses are much like
other maidens and thought him a very
pretty gentleman, and was highly amused
by his extravagance. Yet she did not be-
lieve it to witness any true devotion to her,
but thought it mere gallantry.
Then, one day, M. de Merosailles, having
tried all else that he could think of, took to
his bed. He sent for a physician, and paid
him a high fee to find the seeds of a rapid and
fatal disease in him : and he made his body-
servant whiten his face and darken his room ;
and he groaned very pitifully, saying that he
was sick, and that he was glad of it ; for
death would be better far than the con-
tinued disdain of the Princess Osra. And
all this, being told by the Marquis's servants
to the Princess's waiting-women, reached
Osra's ears, and caused her much perturba-
tion. For she now perceived that the pas-
sion of the Marquis was real and deep, and
she became very sorry for him : the longer
the face [of the rascally physician grew the
more sad the Princess became : she walked
up and down, bewailing the terrible effects
of her beauty, wishing that she were not so
fair, and mourning very tenderly for the
sad plight of the unhappy Marquis.
Through all Prince Rudolf looked on, but
56 The Heart of Princess Osra.
was bound by his wager not to undeceive
her ; moreover he found much entertainment
in the matter, and swore that it was worth
three times a thousand crowns.
At last the Marquis sent by the mouth
of his physician a very humble and pitiful
message to the Princess, in which he spoke
of himself as near to death, hinted at the
cruel cause of his condition, and prayed her
of compassion to visit him in his chamber,
and speak a word of comfort, or at least let
him look on her face : for the brightness of
her eyes, he said, might cure even what it
Deceived by this appeal, Princess Osra
agreed to go ; moved by some strange im-
pulse, she put on her choicest array, dressed
her hair most splendidly, and came into the
chamber looking like a goddess. There lay
the Marquis, white as a ghost and languid
on his pillows ; and they were left, as they
thought, alone. Then Osra sat down and
began to talk very gently and kindly to him,
glancing only at the madness which brought
him to his sad state, and imploring him to
summon his resolution, and conquer his
sickness for his friends' sake at home in
France, and for the sake of her brother,
who loved him.
THE PHYSICIAN RECEIVES PRINCESS OSRA. Page 56.
The Wager of the Marquis de Me>osailles. 57
" There is nobody who loves me," said the
Marquis petulantly ; and when Osra cried
out at this, he went on, " For the love of
those whom I do not love is nothing to me,
and the only soul alive I love There
he stopped, but his eyes, fixed on Osra's
face, ended the sentence for him. And she
blushed, and looked away. Then thinking
the moment was come, he burst suddenly
into a flood of protestations and self-re-
proach, cursing himself for a fool and a
presumptuous madman, pitifully craving her
pardon, and declaring that he did not de-
serve her kindness, and yet that he could
not live without it, and that anyhow he
would be dead soon, and thus cease to trouble
her. But she, being thus passionately
assailed, showed such sweet tenderness and
compunction and pity, that M. de M^ro-
sailles came very near to forgetting that he
was playing a comedy, and threw himself
into his part with eagerness, redoubling his
vehemence, and feeling now full half of
what he said. For the Princess was to his
eyes far more beautiful in her softer mood.
Yet he remembered his wager, and, at last,
when she was nearly in tears and ready, as
it seemed, to do anything to give him com-
fort, he cried desperately :
58 The Heart of Princess Osra.
" Ah, leave, leave me ! Leave me to die
alone ! Yet, for pity's sake, before you go,
and before I die, give me your forgiveness,
and let your lips touch my forehead in token
of it. Then I shall die in peace."
At that the Princess blushed still more,
and her eyes were wet, and shone, for she
was deeply touched at his misery and at the
sad prospect of the death for love of so gal-
lant a gentleman. Thus she could scarcely
speak for emotion ; and the Marquis seeing
her emotion was himself deeply affected ;
and she rose from her chair, and bent over
him, and whispered comfort to him. Then
she leant down, and very lightly touched
his forehead with her lips ; he felt her
eyelashes, which were wet with tears, brush
the skin of his forehead ; and then she
sobbed and covered her face with her hands.
Indeed his state seemed to her most pitiful.
Thus M. de Merosailles had won one of
his three kisses ; yet, strange to tell, there
was no triumph in him, but now he per-
ceived the baseness of his device ; and the
sweet kindness of the Princess, working
together with the great beauty of her
softened manner, so affected him that he
thought no more of his wager and could
not endure to carry on his deception ; noth-
The Wager of the Marquis de Merosailles. 59
ing would serve his turn but to confess to
the Princess what he had done, humbling
himself in the dust before her, and entreat-
ing her to pardon him and let him find for-
Impelled by these feelings, after he had
lain still a few moments listening to the
Princess weeping, he leapt suddenly out of
bed, showing himself fully dressed under
the bed-gown which he now eagerly tore
off ; and he rubbed all the white he could
from his cheeks, and then he fell on his
knees before the Princess, crying to her that
he had played the meanest trick on her, and
that he was a scoundrel, and no gentleman,
and that unless she forgave him he should
in very truth die ; nay, that he would not
consent to live unless he could win from her
pardon for his deceit. And in all this he
was now absolutely in earnest, wondering
only how he had not been as passionately
enamoured of her from the first as he had
feigned himself to be. For a man in love
can never conceive himself out of it, nor he
that is out of it in it ; for if he can, he is half
way to the one or the other, however
little he may know it.
At first the Princess sat as though she
were turned to stone : but when he finished
62 The Heart of Princess Osra*
vants and the falconers might not overhear.
" I ride, sir, to my own funeral."
" The jest is still afoot, then ? " asked the
Prince. " Yet I do not see my sister at the
window to watch you go, and I warrant
you have made no way with your wager
" A thousand curses on my wager ! " cried
the Marquis. " Yes, I have made way with
the accursed thing, and that is why I now
go to my death."
"What, has she kissed you?" cried the
Prince, with a merry astonished laugh.
" Yes, sir, she has kissed me once, and
therefore I go to die."
" I have heard of many a better reason,
then," answered the Prince.
By now the Prince had dismounted, and
he stood by M. de Merosailles in the middle
of the bridge, and heard from him how the
trick had prospered. At this he was much
tickled, and, alas, he was even more diverted
when the penitence of the Marquis was
revealed to him, and was most of all moved
to merriment when it appeared that the
Marquis, having gone too near the candle,
had been caught by its flame, and was so
terribly singed and scorched that he could
not bear to live. And while they talked on
The Wager of the Marquis de M&osailles. 63
the bridge the Princess looked out on them
from a lofty narrow window, but neither of
them saw her. But when the Prince had
done laughing, he put his arm through his
friend's and bade him not be a fool, but
come in and toast the Princess's kiss in a
draught of wine. " For," he said, " though
you will never get the other two, yet it is a
brave exploit to have got one."
But the Marquis shook his head, and his
air was so resolute, and so full of sorrow,
that not only was Rudolf alarmed for his
reason, but Princess Osra also, at the win-
dow, wondered what ailed him and why he
wore such a long face ; and now she noticed
that he was dressed all in black, and that his
horse waited for him across the bridge.
" Not," said she, "that I care what be-
comes of the impudent rogue ! " Yet she
did not leave the window, but watched very
intently to see what M. de Merosailles
For a long while he talked with Rudolf
on the bridge, Rudolf seeming more serious
than he was wont to be ; and at last the
Marquis bent to kiss the Prince's hand, and
the Prince raised him and kissed him on
either cheek ; then the Marquis went and
mounted his horse, and rode off, slowly and
64 The Heart of Princess Osra
unattended, into the glades of the forest of
Zenda ; but the Prince, with a shrug of the
shoulders and a frown on his brow, entered
under the portcullis, and disappeared from
his sister's view.
Upon this the Princess, assuming an air
of great carelessness, walked down from the
room where she was, and found her brother,
sitting still in his boots and drinking wine ;
and she said :
" M. de Merosailles has taken his leave
" Even so, madame," rejoined Rudolf.
Then she broke into a fierce attack on
the Marquis, and on her brother also ; for a
man, said she, is known by his friends, and
what a man Rudolf must be to have a
friend like the Marquis de Merosailles !
" Most brothers," she said in fiery tem-
per, " would make him answer for what he
has done with his life. But you laugh, nay,
I daresay you had a hand in it."
As to this last charge the Prince had the
discretion to say nothing ; he chose rather
to answer the first part of what she said,
and shrugging his shoulders again rejoined :
" The fool saves me the trouble, for he
has gone off to kill himself."
" To kill himself ? " she said, half incredu-
The Wage* of the Marquis de Me>osailles 65
lous, but also half believing, because of the
Marquis's gloomy looks and black clothes.
" To kill himself," repeated Rudolf. " For
in the first place you are angry, so he cannot
live ; in the second he has behaved like a
rogue, so he cannot live ; and in the third
place you are so lovely, sister, that he can-
not live ; and in the first, second, and third
places he is a fool, so he cannot live." And
the Prince finished his flagon of wine with
every sign of ill-humour in his manner.
" He is well dead," she cried.
" Oh, as you please," said he. " He is not
the first brave man who has died on your
account." And he rose and strode out of
the room very surlily ; for he had a great
friendship for M. de Merosailles, and had
no patience with men who let love make
dead bones of them.
The Princess Osra, being left alone, sat
for a little time in deep thought. There
rose before her mind the picture of M. de
Merosailles riding mournfully through the
gloom of the forest to his death. And
although his conduct had been all and more
than all that she had called it, yet it seemed
hard that he should die for it. Moreover,
if he now in truth felt what he had before
feigned, the present truth was an atonement
66 The Heart of Princess Osra*
for the past treachery ; and she said to her-
self that she could not sleep quietly that
night if the Marquis killed himself in the
forest. Presently she wandered slowly up
to her chamber, and looked in the mirror,
and murmured low, " Poor fellow ! " and
then with sudden speed she attired herself
for riding, and commanded her horse to be
saddled, and darted down the stairs and
across the bridge, and mounted, and, for-
bidding any one to accompany her, rode
away into the forest, following the marks
of the hoofs of M. de Me'rosailles's horse.
It was then late afternoon, and the slanting
rays of the sun, striking through the tree-
trunks, reddened her face as she rode along,
spurring her horse, and following hard on
the track of the forlorn gentleman. But
what she intended to do if she came up with
him she did not think.
When she had ridden an hour or more,
she saw his horse tethered to a trunk ; and
there was a ring of trees and bushes near,
encircling an open grassy spot. Herself
dismounting, and fastening her horse by
the Marquis's horse, she stole up, and saw
M. de Merosailles sitting on the ground,
his drawn sword lying beside him ; and his
back was towards her. She held her breath
'SHE SAW M. de MKROSAILLES SITTING ON THE GROUND." Page 66.
The Wager of the Marquis de M&osailles* 67
and waited a few moments. Then he took
up the sword and felt the point and also the
edge of it, and sighed deeply ; and the
Princess thought that this sorrowful mood
became him better than any she had seen
him in before. Then he rose to his feet,
and took his sword by the blade beneath the
hilt, and turned the point of it towards his
heart. But Osra, fearing that the deed
would be done immediately, called out
eagerly, "My lord, my lord!" and M. de
Merosailles turned round with a great start.
When he saw her, he stood in astonishment,
his hand still holding the blade of the sword.
And, standing just on the other side of the
trees, she said :
" Is your offence against me to be cured
by adding an offence against Heaven and the
Church ? "
And she looked on him with great severity,
yet her cheek was flushed, and after a while
she did not meet his glance.
11 How came you here, madame?" he
asked in wonder.
" I heard," she said, " that you meditated
this great sin, and I rode after you to forbid
"Can you forbid what you cause?" he
68 The Heart of Princess Osra*
" I am not the cause of it," she said, " but
your own trickery."
" It is true. I am not worthy to live,"
cried the Marquis, smiting the hilt of his
sword on the ground. " I pray you, madame,
leave me alone to die. For I cannot tear
myself from the world so long as I see your
face." And as he spoke he knelt on one
knee, as though he were doing homage to her.
The Princess caught at the bough of the
tree under which she stood, and pulled the
bough down, so that its leaves half hid her
face, and the Marquis saw little more than
her eyes from among the foliage. Thus
being better able to speak to him, she said
" And dare you die, unforgiven ?"
" I had prayed for forgiveness before you
found me, madame," said he.
" Of heaven, my lord?"
" Of heaven, madame. For of heaven I
dare to ask it."
The bough swayed up and down ; now
Osra's gleaming hair, and now her cheek,
and always her eyes were seen through the
leaves. And presently the Marquis heard a
voice asking :
"Does heaven forgive unasked ?"
"Indeed, no," he said, wondering.
The Wager of the Marquis de M&osailles, 69
"And," she said, " are we poor mortals
kinder than heaven ? "
The Marquis rose, and took a step or two
towards where the bough swayed up and
down, and then knelt again.
" A great sinner," said he, " cannot believe
" Then he wrongs the power of which he
seeks forgiveness ; for forgiveness is divine."
" Then I will ask it, and, if I obtain it, I
shall die happy."
Again the bough swayed : and Osra
" Nay, if you will die, you may die unfor-
M. de Merosailles hearing these words
sprang to his feet, and came towards the
bough, until he was so close that he touched
the green leaves ; through them the eyes
of Osra gleamed : the sun's rays struck on
her eyes, and they danced in the sun ; and
her cheeks were reddened by the same or
some other cause. And the evening was
very still, and there were no sounds in the
" I cannot believe that you forgive. The
crime is so great," said he.
" It was great : yet I forgive."
" I cannot believe it," said he again, and
70 The Heart of Princess Osra*
he looked at the point of his sword, and then
he looked through the leaves at the Prin-
" I cannot do more than say that if you
will live, I will forgive. And we will forget."
" By heaven, no," he whispered. " If I
must forget to be forgiven, then I will
remember and be unforgiven."
The faintest laugh reached him from
among the foliage.
" Then I will forget, and you shall be for-
given," said she.
The Marquis put up his hand, and held a
leaf aside, and he said again :
" I cannot believe myself forgiven. Is
there no token of forgiveness ?"
" Pray, my lord, do not put the leaves
11 I still must die, unless I have sure war-
rant of forgiveness."
" Ah, you try to make me think that ! "
" By heaven, it is true ! " And again he
pointed his sword at his heart, and he swore
on his honour that unless she gave him a
token he would still kill himself.
" Oh," said the Princess with great petu-
lance, " I wish I had not come ! "
" Then I should have been dead by now
The Wager of the Marquis de Merosailles* 7 1
" But you will still die ! "
" Yes, I must still die, unless "
" Sheathe your sword, my lord. The sun
strikes it, and it dazzles my eyes."
" That cannot be : for your eyes are
brighter than sun and sword together."
"Then I must shade them with the leaves."
" Yes, shade them with the leaves," he
whispered. " Madame, is there no token
of forgiveness ? "
In the silence that followed his eyes spoke,
at last she said :
''Why did you swear on your honour?"
" Because it is an oath that I cannot
" Indeed I wish that I had not come,"
sighed Princess Osra.
Again came silence. The bough was
pressed down for an instant ; then it swayed
swiftly up again ; and its leaves brushed the
cheek of M. de Merosailles. And he
laughed loudly and joyfully.
" Something touched my cheek," said he.
" It must have been a leaf," said Princess
-Ah, a leaf!"
" I think so," said Princess Osra.
" Then it was a leaf of the Tree of Life,"
said M. de Merosailles.
72 The Heart of Princess Osra.
" I wish some one would set me on my
horse," said Osra.
" That you may ride back to the castle
alone ? "
"Yes, unless you would relieve my
" It would be courteous to do that much,"
said the Marquis.
So they mounted, and rode back through
In an hour the Princess had come, and in
the space of something over two hours they
returned ; yet during all this time they spoke
hardly a word : and although the sun was
now set, yet the glow remained on the face
and in the eyes of Princess Osra ; while M.
de Merosailles, being forgiven, rode with a
smile on his lips.
But when they came to the castle, Prince
Rudolf ran out to meet them, and he cried
almost before he reached them :
" Hasten, hasten ! There is not a mo-
ment to lose, if the Marquis values life or
liberty ! " And when he came to them he
told them that a waiting-woman had been
false to M. de Merosailles and, after taking
his money, had hid herself in his chamber,
and seen the first kiss that the Princess
gave him, and, having made some pretext to
The Wager of the Marquis de Merosailles* 73
gain a holiday, had gone to the King, who
was hunting near, and betrayed the whole
matter to him.
" And one of my gentlemen," he contin-
ued, " has ridden here to tell me. In an
hour the Guards will be here, and if the
King catches you, my lord, you will hang
as sure as I live."
The Princess turned very pale, but M. de
Merosailles said haughtily, " I ask your
pardon, sir, but the King dares not hang me.
For I am a gentleman and a subject of the
King of France."
" Man, man ! " cried Rudolf. " The Lion
will hang you first, and think of all that af-
terwards ! Come now, it is dusk. You shall
dress yourself as my groom, and I will ride
to the frontier, and you shall ride behind me,
and thus you may get safe away. I cannot
have you hanged over such a trifle."
" I would have given my life willingly
for what you call a trifle, sir," said the Mar-
quis with a bow to Osra.
" Then have the trifle and life too," said
Rudolf derisively. " Come in with me, and
I will give you your livery ! "
When the Prince and M. de Merosailles
came out again on the drawbridge the even-
ing had fallen, and it was dark ; their horses
74 The Heart of Princess Osra.
stood at the end of the bridge, and by the
horses stood the Princess.
" Quick ! " said she. " For a peasant who
came in, bringing a load of wood, saw a troop
of men coming over the crown of the hill,
and he says they are the King's Guard."
" Mount, man ! " cried the Prince to M.
de Merosailles, who was now dressed as a
groom. " Perhaps we can get clear, or per-
haps they will not dare to stop me."
But the Marquis hesitated a little, for he
did not like to run away ; but the Princess
ran a little forward and, shading her eyes
with her hand, cried, " See there ! I see the
gleam of steel in the dark. They have
reached the top of the hill, and are riding
Then Prince Rudolf sprang on his horse,
calling again to M. de Merosailles, " Quick,
quick ! Your life hangs on it ! "
Then at last the Marquis, though he was
most reluctant to depart, was about to spring
on his horse, when the Princess turned and
glided back swiftly to them. And let it be
remembered that evening had fallen thick
and black she came to her brother and put
out her hand, and grasped his hand, and
" My lord, I forgive your wrong, and I
The Wager of the Marquis de Me'rosailles* 75
thank you for your courtesy, and I wish
Prince Rudolf, astonished, gazed at her
without speaking. But she, moving very
quickly in spite of the darkness, ran to
where M. de Merosailles was about to spring
on his horse, and she flung* one arm lightly
about his neck, and she said :
" Farewell, dear brother, God preserve
you. See that no harm comes to my good
friend, M. de Merosailles." And she kissed
him lightly on the cheek. Then she sud-
denly gave a loud cry of dismay, exclaiming,
" Alas, what have I done ? Ah, what have I
done?" and she hid her face in her two hands.
Prince Rudolf burst into a loud short
laugh, yet he said nothing to his sister, but
again urged the Marquis to mount his
horse. And the Marquis, who was in a sad
tumult of triumph and of woe, leapt up ; and
they rode out, and turning their faces to-
wards the forest, set spurs to their horses
and vanished at a breakneck speed into the
glades. And no sooner were they gone
than the troopers of the King's Guard clat-
tered at a canter up to the end of the
bridge, where the Princess Osra stood.
But when their captain saw the Princess,
he drew rein.
7 6 The Heart of Princess Osra*
"What is your errand, sir?" she asked
most coldly and haughtily.
" Madame, we are ordered to bring the
Marquis de Merosailles alive or dead into
the King's presence, and we have informa-
tion that he is in the castle, unless, indeed,
he were one of the horsemen who rode
away just now."
" The horsemen you saw were my brother
the Prince and his groom," said Osra.
" But if you think that M. de Merosailles is
in the castle, pray search the castle from
keep to cellar; and if you find him, carry
him to my father, according to your orders."
Then the troopers dismounted in great
haste, and ransacked the castle from keep
to cellar ; and they found the clothes of
the Marquis, and the white powder with
which f he had whitened his face, but the
Marquis they did not find. So the captain
came again to the Princess, who still stood
at the end of the bridge, and said :
" Madame, he is not in the castle."
" Is he not ?" said she, and turned away,
and, walking to the middle of the bridge,
looked down into the water of the moat.
" Was it in truth the Prince's groom who
rode with him, madame ? " asked the cap-
tain, following her.
The Wager of the Marquis de Me>osailles* 77
" In truth, sir, it was so dark," answered
the Princess, " that I could not myself
clearly distinguish the man's face."
" One was the Prince, for I saw you em-
brace him, madame."
" You do well to conclude that that was
my brother," said Osra, smiling a little.
" And to the other, madame, you gave
" And now I give it to you," said she
with haughty insolence. " And if to my
father's servant, why not to my brother's?"
And she held out her hand that he might
kiss it, and turned away from him, and
looked down into the water again.
" But we found M. de Merosailles's
clothes in the castle ! " persisted the cap-
" He may well have left something of his
in the castle," said the Princess.
"I will ride after them ! " cried the cap-
" I doubt if you will catch them," smiled
the Princess ; for by now the pair had been
gone half an hour, and the frontier was but
ten miles from the castle, and they could
not be overtaken. Yet the captain rode off
with his men, and pursued till he met
Prince Rudolf returning alone, having seen
78 The Heart of Princess Osra*
M. de Merosailles safe on his way. And
Rudolf had paid the sum of a thousand
crowns to the Marquis, so that the fugitive
was well provided for his journey, and,
travelling with many relays of horses, made
good his escape from the clutches of King
But the Princess Osra stayed a long time
looking down at the water in the moat.
Sometimes she sighed, and then, again,
she frowned, and, although nobody was
there, and it was very dark into the bar-
gain, more than once she blushed. And at
last she turned to go into the castle. But,
as she went, she murmured softly to her-
" Why I kissed him the first time I know ;
it was in pity. And why I kissed him the
second time I know ; it was in forgiveness.
But why I kissed him the third time, or
what that kiss meant," said Osra, " heaven
And she went in with a smile on her lips.
The Madness of Lord Harry Culverhousc*
" SEEING that my father Henry is dead,
and that I am King ; seeing also that I am
no longer a bachelor, but a married man "
and here he bowed to Margaret of Tus-
cany, his newly wedded wife; "and seeing
that Osra's turned twenty years of age
why, we are all to be sober folk at Strelsau
from this day forward, and we are to play
no more pranks. Here's a pledge to it ! "
And having said this, King Rudolf III.
took a deep draught of wine.
At this moment the ushers announced
that the Lord Harry Culverhouse had come
to take his leave of their Majesties and of
the Princess. This gentleman had accom-
panied the Embassy that came from Eng-
land to congratulate the King on his mar-
riage, and he had stayed some months in
Strelsau, very eagerly acceding to the King's
invitation to prolong his visit. For such
were his folly and headstrong passion, that
8o The Heart of Princess Osra.
he had fallen most desperately in love with
the fair face of Princess Osra, and could not
endure to live out of her presence. Yet
now he came to bid farewell, and when he
was ushered in, Rudolf received him with
much graciousness, and made him a present
of his own miniature set in diamonds, while
the Queen gave him her miniature set in
the lid of a golden casket. In return, Lord
Harry prayed the King to accept a richly-
mounted sword, and the Queen an ivory fan,
painted by the greatest artist of France and
bearing her cipher in jewels. Then he came
to Princess Osra, and she, having bidden
him farewell, said :
" I am a poor maid, my lord, and I can
give no great gift, but take this pin from
my hair and keep it for my sake."
And she drew out a golden pin from her
hair, a long and sharp pin, bearing for its
head her cipher in brilliants, and she gave it
to him, smiling.
But he, bowing low and then falling on
his knee, offered her a box of red morocco
leather, and when she opened it she saw a
necklace of rubies of great splendour. The
Princess flushed red, seeing that the gift
was most costly. And she would fain have
refused it, and held it out again to Lord
The Madness of Lord Harry Culverhouse, 81
Harry. But he turned swiftly away, and,
bowing once more, withdrew. Then the
Princess said to her brother, " It is too
The King, seeing how splendid the gift
was, frowned a little, and then said :
" He must be a man of very great wealth.
They are rich in England. I am sorry the
gift is so great, but we cannot refuse it
without wounding his honour."
So the Princess set the ruby necklace with
her other jewels, and thought for a day or
two that Lord Harry was no wiser than
other men, and then forgot him.
Now Lord Harry Culverhouse, on leaving
the King's presence, had mounted his horse,
which was a fine charger and splendidly
equipped, and ridden alone out of Strelsau ;
for he had dismissed all his servants and
despatched them with suitable gratuities to
their own country. He rode through the
afternoon, and in the evening he reached a
village fifteen miles away ; here he stopped
at a cottage, cfnd an old man came out and
escorted him in. A bundle lay on the table
in the little parlour of the cottage.
" Here are the clothes, my lord," said the
old man, laying his hand on the bundle.
" And here are mine," answered Lord
82 The Heart of Princess Osra,
Harry. " And the horse stands ready for
you." With this he began to pull off the
fine clothes in which he had had audience
of the King, and he opened the bundle and
put on the old and plain suit which it con-
tained. Then he held out his hand to the
old man, saying, " Give me the five crowns,
Solomon, and our bargain is complete."
Then Solomon the Jew gave him five
crowns and bade him farewell, and he placed
the crowns in his purse and walked out of
the cottage, possessing nothing in the world
saving his old clothes, five crowns, and the
golden pin that had fastened the ruddy hair
of Princess Osra. For everything else that
he had possessed, his lands and houses in
England, his horses and carriages, his money,
his clothes, and all that was his, he had
bartered with Solomon the Jew, in order that
he might buy the ruby necklace which he
had given to Princess Osra. Such was the
strange madness wrought in him by her face.
It was now late evening, and he walked
to and fro all night. In the morning he
went to the shop of a barber and, in return
for one of his crowns, the barber cropped
his long curls short and shaved off his
moustaches, and gave him a dye with which
he stained his complexion to a darker tint ;
The Madness of Lord Harry Culverhouse* 83
and he made his face dirty, and soiled his
hands and roughened the skin of them by
chafing them on some flints which lay by
the roadside. Then, changing a second
crown, he bought a loaf of bread, and set
off to trudge to Strelsau, for in Strelsau was
Osra, and he would not be anywhere else
in the world. And when he had arrived
there, he went to a sergeant of the King's
Guard, and prevailed on him by a present
of three crowns to enlist him as a trooper,
and this the sergeant, having found that
Lord Harry could ride and knew how to
use his sword, agreed to do. Thus Lord
Harry became a trooper in the Guard of
King Rudolf, having for all his possessions,
save what the King's stores afforded him,
a few pence and the golden pin that had
fastened the hair of Princess Osra. But
nobody knew him, except Solomon the Jew,
and he, having made a good profit, held his
peace, both then and afterwards.
Many a day Lord Harry mounted guard
at the palace, and often he saw the King,
with the Queen, ride out and back ; but
they did not notice the face of the trooper.
Sometimes he saw the Princess also, but
she did not look at him, although he could
not restrain himself from looking at her;
84 The Heart of Princess Osra,
but since every man looked at her she had
grown accustomed to being gazed at and
took no heed of it. But once she wore the
ruby necklace, and the breath of the trooper
went quick and eager when he saw it on
her neck ; and a sudden flush of colour
spread over all his face, so that the Princess,
chancing to glance at him in passing, and
seeing the colour beneath and through the
dye that stained him, was greatly astonished,
and she reined in her horse for an instant
and looked very intently at him ; yet she
rode on again in silence.
That evening there came to the quarters
of the King's Guard a waiting-woman, who
asked to see the trooper who had mounted
guard at the west gate of the palace that
day ; and when he came the woman held
out to him a box of red morocco leather,
saying, " It is for you."
But he answered, " It is not for me," and,
turning away, left her. And this happened
on three evenings. Then, on the fourth
day, it was again his turn to mount guard
at the palace ; and when he had sat there
on his horse for an hour, the Princess Osra
rode out from under the portico ; she rode
alone and the ruby necklace was on her
neck : and she said :
The Madness of Lord Harry Culverhouse* 85
" I am going to ride outside the city by
the river bank. Let a trooper follow me
some way behind." And she signed with
her hand to Lord Harry, and he rode after
her through the streets, and out of the
Western Gate ; and they turned along the
bank of the river. When they had gone
three or four miles from the city, Osra
halted, and beckoned to Lord Harry to
approach her ; and he came. But when she
was about to speak to him and tell him that
she knew him, a sudden new madness came
on him ; he seized her bridle, and dug his
spurs deep into his horse's flanks, and the
horse bounded forward at a gallop. In
alarm the Princess cried out, but he did not
heed her. Along the bank they galloped :
and when they met any one, which happened
seldom (for the place was remote, and it was
now evening), he bade her cover her face,
and she obeyed, twisting her lace handker-
chief about her face. Thus they rode till
they came at nightfall to a bluff of rock high
above the stream. Here Lord Harry sud-
denly checked the horses, flung himself from
his saddle, and bade the Princess dismount.
She obeyed, and stood facing him, pale
with fear and apprehension, but wearing a
proud and scornful air. And he cried :
86 The Heart of Princess Osra.
" Is it not well you should die ? For you
live but to madden men and drive them to
sin and folly."
" Nay," said she, "to men of good heart
beauty leads to goodness. From yourself
come the sin and folly, my lord ; " and she
laid hold of the ruby necklace and broke
the clasp of it, and flung it on the ground
before him. He took no heed of it, but
seized her hand, and drew her to the edge
of the bluff, saying :
" The world will be safer if I fling you
Then she looked in his face, and a sudden
pity entered into her heart, and she said
very gently :
" Sit down, my lord, and let me put my
hands on your brow, for I think you are in
He sat down, all trembling and shaking
like a man with ague, and she stripped off
her gauntlets, and took his forehead be-
tween her hands ; and he lay there quiet
with his head between her hands. Pres-
ently his eyes closed, and he slept. But
Osra did not know what to do, for darkness
had fallen, and she dared not leave him
alone there by the river. So she sat where
she was, and in an hour, the night being
The Madness of Lord Harry Culvcrhousc* 87
fine and not cold, she grew weary ; her
hands fell away from his brow, and she
sank back on the green turf, pillowing her
head on a curved arm, and there she slept
with the mad lord by her and the ruby
necklace lying near them.
At midnight Lord Harry Culverhouse
awoke, and saw Princess Osra sleeping
peacefully, with a smile on her lips such as
decks a child's in sleep. He rose and stood
up on his feet, looking at her : and he heard
nothing but the sound of the horses cropping
the grass a little way off. Then he drew
near her and gazed long on her face : and
she opened her eyes and saw him ; she
smiled at him, and she said :
" Even here I am guarded by one of the
gentlemen who guard me in the palace."
And she closed her eyes again and turned
A shiver ran through him. He dug his
nails into the palms of his hands, and, turn-
ing, walked swiftly up and down on the
bluff by the side of the river, while Osra
Presently he fell on his knees beside
her, beginning to murmur in a rapid rush
of words : but he did not now curse her
beauty, but blessed God for it, and blessed
88 The Heart of Princess Osra.
Him also for the preservation of his own
honour. Thus he spent the night till day
was near : then he bent over Osra, and
looked once more on her : and he took up
the ruby necklace and laid it lightly about
her neck. Feeling the touch of it, cool
and wet from the dew, she again opened
her eyes, and, putting her knuckles in them,
she rubbed gently ; and she gasped a gentle
yawn, saying: " Heigho, I am sleepy!"
and sat up. And she said :
" Are you riot sleepy, my lord ?"
" I am on watch, madame," said Lord
As the Princess sat up, the ruby necklace
fell from her neck into her lap. Seeing it,
she held it up to him, saying :
" Take it again, and go to your own home.
I am sure you gave too great a price for
He smiled, for she did not know how
great the price was, and he asked :
" Must I, in my turn, give back the pin
that fastened your hair?"
" No, keep the pin it is worth nothing,"
she smiled. " Is it safe for me to go to
sleep a little longer?"
" Who would harm you, madame ? Even
I have not harmed you."
The Madness of Lord Harry Culverhouse. 89
" You ! " said she, with a little laugh.
"You would not harm me."
And she lay down again and closed her
Then Lord Harry Culverhouse sat down
on the ground, resting his chin on his knees,
and clasping his hands about his shins,
and he cursed himself bitterly not now be-
cause he meditated any harm to her for his
hot fury was past, and he would have died
before a hair of her head should be hurt-
but because of the evil that his wild and
reckless madness had brought upon her.
For he knew that soon there would be a
pursuit, and that, if she and he were found
there, it would become known who he was,
and her fame would suffer injurious rumours
by reason of what he had done. Therefore
he made up his mind what he must next do,
and he abandoned all the dreams that had
led him into the foolish adventure on which
he had embarked, and put from him the
wickedness that had filled his heart when
first he carried her to the bluff over the river.
He rose on to his knees, and prayed that
if his deed were a sin for it seemed to
him to be a necessary thing then that
it might be forgiven, but that, in any case,
no hurt or harm should befall the Princess
90 The Heart of Princess Osra.
Osra by reason of anything that he had
done. Finally he commended his soul to
God. Then he took the ruby necklace in
his hand and, holding it, walked to the edge
of the bluff.
But at this instant the sound of the hoofs
of a horse struck on his ear ; the sound was
loud and close, and he had no more time
than to turn round before a horse was reined
in suddenly by him, and a man leapt from
it and ran at him and grappled with him.
And Lord Harry perceived that the man
was the King. For when Osra did not re-
turn, search parties had been sent out ; the
King himself headed one, and, having the
best horse and being urged on by love and
fear for his sister, he had outridden all the
rest and had chanced to come alone where
Osra and Lord Harry were ; and he gripped
Lord Harry furiously, cursing him for a
scoundrel and demanding what he had done
to the Princess. Then Lord Harry said :
" Do you not know me, sire ? I am Harry
Greatly astonished, the King loosed his
hold and fell back a pace, for he could not
understand what he heard, but yet knew the
voice of his friend. Then, looking down, he
beheld Osra sleeping peacefully as a child on
The Madness of Lord Harry Culverhouse* 91
the ground, with her cloak spread under
her, that she might take no harm from the
damp. But Lord Harry caught him by the
arm, crying :
" Are there others coming after you ?"
"Aye," said the King, "many others.
The whole of the Guard are roused, and
seek her high and low in the city and out-
side. But how came you here, man ?"
Then Lord Harry told the King what he
had done, speaking very briefly and hastily,
but yet sparing nothing ; and when he told
him how he had carried off the Princess,
the King's hand flew to the hilt of his sword.
But Lord Harry said " Not yet," and con-
tinued to tell the King how Osra had pitied
him, how he had watched by her, and how
she had slept again, bidding him keep the
pin. Then glancing at Osra, he lowered
his voice and spoke very quick and urgently,
and the King held out his hand and shook
Lord Harry's hand, asking : " Is there no
other way?" But Lord Harry shook his
head ; then he kissed the King's hand ; next
he went and kissed Osra's hand very softly,
and looked for the last time on her face ;
and he drew the golden pin from his purse
and he put it gently and deftly among her
hair. Then taking the ruby necklace in his
92 The Heart of Princess Osra*
own hand and clenching it tight, he said to
" Sire, there are some in the city that
knew me before, but have not known me
since I have been in your Guard, because I
have altered my face. Take care that you
so alter it that they do not know me again."
The King's breath caught in his throat,
for he had loved Lord Harry Culverhouse,
and he asked again :
" Is there no other way ?"
"Hark!" said the other, "I hear the
horses of your Guard drawing near \- I hear
them to east and west and north ; and do
you not see shapes riding there to the south,
across the river? If I ride from here alive,
I shall be taken, and the truth must be
known. For my sake and hers, strike, sire."
The King took Lord Harry Culverhouse
by the arm and drew him to him, saying:
"Must it be so, Harry? And we have
lived as friends together ! "
" The sound of the hoofs is very near,
The King drew himself up to his height,
and he raised his hat from his head, and
bowed low to Lord Harry Culverhouse, and
he said :
" Now praise be to God for the restora-
The Madness of Lord Harry Culverhouse* 93
tion of this gentleman to a sound mind, and
may Christ grant him mercy for the sake of
his honourable death !"
And he drew his sword from its sheath,
and came up to Lord Harry Culverhouse,
who stood on the edge of the bluff. The
King raised his sword and struck with all
his strength ; the head split under the blow,
and Lord Harry Culverhouse fell dead from
the bluff into the river, holding the ruby
necklace in his clenched hand. But the
King shivered, and a short sob burst from
On this instant there arose an eager glad
cry, and twenty of the Guard rushed for-
ward, greeting the King and rejoiced to see
the Princess. Roused by the noise of their
coming, she sat up again, rubbing her eyes,
and cried :
" Where is he ? Where is Lord Harry ? "
And she looked round on the troopers,
and they gazed on her, much astonished at
hearing what she said. But Rudolf came to
her and took her hand, saying :
" Why, Osra, you have been dreaming !
There is no Lord Harry here. Lord Harry
Culverhouse is far off in his own country.
Did that rascal of a trooper frighten you ? "
Her eyes grew wide in wonder ; but
94 The Heart of Princess Osra
before she could speak he turned to the
Guard, saying :
" By heaven's pleasure I came in time to
prevent any harm, except the loss of a neck-
lace my sister wore. For as I rode up, I
saw a fellow stooping down by her and
fumbling with the clasp of her necklace.
He was one of your troop, and had ridden
out behind her, and he must have carried
her off by force : now he was endeavouring
to rob her, and as I rode up to him he
sprang away from her, holding her necklace
in his hand : but I leapt down from my
horse and ran at him, and he retreated in
fear. Then I drew my sword, and drove
him back to the edge of the bluff : and then
I split his skull, and he fell into the river,
still holding the necklace. But, thanks to
God, the Princess is not hurt. Let search
be made for the fellow's body, for perhaps
the necklace will be still in his hand."
But one cried, " How came they here ? "
" Ah, sister," said the King, fixing his
eyes on Osra, " how came you here?"
Reading in the King's eyes the answer
that he would have, she said :
"The trooper compelled me to come
hither with him, and he threatened to kill
me if I would not give him my necklace.
The Madness of Lord Harry Culverhousc* 95
But I refused : then he drew a knife and
menaced me with it, and I fell into a swoon,
and knew no more until I awoke and found
you here ; and now I see that my necklace
" Bring her horse," the King commanded,
"and ride in front and behind. We will
return to the city at the best speed we
Then he mounted the Princess on her
horse, and rode by her side, supporting her
with his arm : and the troopers were some
way off in front and behind. But the
Princess felt the pin again in her hair, and
putting up her hand she pulled it out, and
she said :
" He has given me back my pin."
11 Of whom do you speak ? " asked the
" Of Lord Harry Culverhouse. Is he
indeed dead, Rudolf?"
" Are you indeed still dreaming ? " an-
swered the King with a laugh. "What
had that fellow to do with Harry Culver-
house ? "
" But the pin ?" she cried.
" My wife set it in your hair, before you
started, for she wished to replace the one
you gave to Lord Harry."
96 The Heart of Princess Osra*
" She did not touch my hair to-day ! "
cried the Princess.
" Aye, but she did," said he.
The Princess suddenly fell to sobbing ;
and she said :
" Tell me the truth, tell me the truth.
Surely it was in truth Lord Harry Culver-
Then Rudolf drew very close to her, and
said softly :
" Sweet sister, the noble gentleman whom
we knew, he whom I loved, and who loved
you in chivalrous deference, went from us
two months ago. Be not troubled about
him, for now all is well with him. But
there was an unhappy man with you, who
was not our Harry Culverhouse, and who
had murderous and mad thoughts in his
heart. Yet at the end he also died as
readily and as nobly as our dear friend
himself would have died for your sake. I
pray you ask no more of him, but be con-
tented to know that though he died by the
sword yet he died in peace and willingly.
But of our dear friend, as we knew him,
think as much as you will, for the love of an
honest gentleman is a good thing to think
The Princess Osra, hearing this, laid her
The Madness of Lord Harry Culverhouse. 97
hand in her brother's hand, and for a long
while she did not speak. Then she said :
" But our friend will not come again,
Rudolf ? "
" No, you will never see our friend again,"
answered the King.
" Then when you see him for I think
you will see him once again lay this pin in
his hand, and bid him take and keep it for
the sake of the love I bear him : perhaps
he will hear you."
" It may be, I cannot tell," said the King.
" And if he has the necklace," said she,
" pray him to give that to you, and sell it,
Rudolf, and give the value of it in gifts to
the poor. Yes, to all that are unhappy and
afflicted, even as the poor man who was
with me to-night."
" So be it, Osra," said the King, and he
kissed her. But she burst again suddenly
into passionate weeping, calling God to
witness that her face was a curse to her and
a curse to her friends, and praying the King
to suffer her to take the veil in a convent,
that she might trouble honest men no more.
Thus he brought her in a sad plight to the
palace, and gave her into the arms of his
wife, still sobbing bitterly. And he himself
took the pin, and when the body of the
98 The Heart of Princess Osra*
mad trooper was found, with his own hand
he covered the face, and put the pin in the
hand from which he took the ruby necklace :
and he sold the necklace, and used the pro-
ceeds of it as his sister had desired.
Thus the madness of Lord Harry Culver-
house, which was bred in him by the beauty
of the Princess Osra, worked its way with
him, and brought him first into peril of great
villainy, and at last to death. And his name
passed no more on the lips of any in Strel-
sau, nor between King Rudolf and his sister,
while the story that the King had told to
the troopers was believed by all, and none
save the King knew what Lord Harry
Culverhouse had done in his madness. But
Osra mourned for him, and for a long while
she would not go abroad, nor receive any
of the princes or nobles who came to the
Court, but lay still sick and full of grief,
bewailing the harm that she had wrought.
Yet, as time passed, she grew again happy,
for she was young, and the world was sweet
to her : and then, as King Rudolf had
bidden her, she remembered Lord Harry
Culverhouse as he had been before his mad-
ness came upon him. Yet still more did
she remember how, even in his madness,
he had done her no harm, but had watched
The Madness of Lord Harry Culverhouse*. 99
beside her through the night, and had, as
morning dawned, entreated death at the
hands of the King, preferring to die rather
than that the talk of a single idle tongue
should fall foully on her name. Therefore
she mourned for him with secret tears.
But he, although no monument marked his
grave, and although men spoke only of the
mad trooper who had robbed the Princess,
yet slept soundly and at peace : and his
right hand lay clenched upon his heart, and
in it the golden pin that had fastened the
ruddy hair of Princess Osra.
The Courtesy of Christian the Highwayman.
" I AM tired of men," cried Princess Osra,
" and of suitors, and of princes. I will go
to Zenda and ride in the forest all alone."
" You will meet men even there," said the
u How do you know that, sire?" she
asked with a smile.
" At least I have found it impossible to
avoid meeting women anywhere."
" I do not think it is the same thing,"
observed Osra, smiling again.
The King said no more, but let her go
her own way ; and to Zenda she went, and
rode in the forest all alone, meeting for
many days no man at all, though, perhaps,
she thought a little of those whom she had
met, and (who can tell?) now and then of
one whom she should some day meet.
For the mind loves to entertain itself with
such idle musings, and they are hardly
conscious till a sudden smile or a beat of
The Courtesy of Christian the Highwayman* 101
the heart betrays them to the abashed
thinker. Just in this manner a flush had
chanced to rise to Osra's cheek one day
as she rode in a reverie, being above ten
miles from the Castle and on the very edge
of the kingdom's frontier, which skirts
the extremity of the forest on the east.
Breaking off her thoughts, half ashamed of
them, she looked up and saw a very fine and
powerful horse tethered to a tree a few
yards away, saddled and bridled. Then she
said to herself with a sigh, " Alas, here is a
man as my brother said !" And she shook
her head very sorrowfully.
The next instant she saw, as she had fore-
boded, a man approaching her ; indeed, the
matter was as bad as could be, for he was
young and handsome, finely dressed, car-
rying a good sword by his side and a brace
of pistols mounted in silver in his belt.
He held a feathered hat in his hand, and,
advancing with a deep bow, knelt on one
knee by the Princess's horse, saying :
" Madame, if you will, you can do me
a great service."
" If it be in my power, sir," she answered
for since fate compelled her to meet a
man, she would not show him rudeness
" I am at your service."
102 The Heart of Princess Osra*
11 You see my horse there, madame ? He
is as dear as my life to me ; and I fear I
shall lose him, unless I have your aid,"
and he rose and stood looking at the Prin-
" Why, what threatens him ? " she asked.
" I will tell you, madame. I come from
across the frontier, from a secluded village
nearly ten miles from here. There I live
with my mother, whom I support. There
is a rich fellow there, a farmer, Otho by
name, who is, saving your presence, a
plaguey boastful fellow. And he is to-day
to be betrothed."
"Do you also love the lady?" asked
Osra, thinking she had come at the cause
of his trouble.
14 Not I, madame. But this Otho boasted
and vaunted so intolerably of her beauty,
and of his own prowess and attraction, that
last night I, led away by emulation (nay, I
am ashamed to say that I had also drunk a
flask of wine) wagered with him my horse
against a thousand crowns though the
horse is worth two thousand that I would
bring with me to the feast a girl handsomer
than his Lotta. But now it is eleven o'clock,
and the feast is at one o'clock, and I have
no girl to show, ugly or handsome. And if
The Courtesy of Christian the Highwayman, 103
I lose my horse I must hang myself, for I
cannot live without him."
" You cannot live without your horse ? "
she asked in surprise.
*' At least, madame," he answered in some
confusion, " his loss would go near to break-
ing my heart."
" But is this Lotta so handsome that you
can find none to surpass her ? "
" She is, indeed, wonderfully handsome.
In the village they call her the most beauti-
ful girl in the world."
" Then, sir, it seems to me that your
wager was most improvident and rash. For
you are certain to lose it."
" Alas, yes ! " he answered in great dis-
tress. " I am certain to lose ; for there are,
I think, only two ladies in the world who
could save me, and one would not."
" Two ladies ? Who are they ? "
" Madame," said he, " before you came in
sight, I sat desolate and despairing on the
ground, and what I said to myself was, * If
what men say is true, there is only one lady
who could save me. But how shall I, poor
Christian Hantz, come at the Princess Osra ?
And would she put on a country girl's
dress and go to the feast with me ? Alas,
it is impossible ! And there is no other
104 The Heart of Princess Osra.
lady in the world beautiful enough.' But
" Well, sir, what then ? " asked Osra, play-
ing with her whip and smothering a smile.
" Then, madame," said Christian, " I
looked up and I saw you, and I cried, ' A
fig for the Princess Osra ! For here is a
lady more beautiful than all they tell of
Princess Osra ; I will throw myself at her
feet and pray her in pity to help me.' '
Still Osra hid her smile, and so busy was
she with this task that she did not perceive
that Christian also hid a smile ; but she
thought that he did not know her, whereas
he had seen her several times, and had this
day tracked her in the forest, knowing that
she was accustomed to ride there.
" But where," she asked, " would the lady
who went with you get the dress you speak
"At my mother's cottage, madame, where
my mother would wait on her."
" And when could she be back at this
spot ? "
" By five in the afternoon, madame. I
would myself escort her."
" And why, sir, should she rescue you
from the straits into which your folly has
led you ? "
The Courtesy of Christian the Highwayman* 105
" Alas, madame, for no reason, unless, by
a divine miracle, she should prove as kind
as she is beautiful."
. " You have a rash tongue, sir, in other
matters than the making of wagers." And
she looked at him. For she was very sorely
tempted to do what he prayed of her ; and
she said :
" Has the Princess Osra ever ridden
through your village ? "
" Never, madame."
" But some there may know her face, and
then they will think nothing of mine."
" It is unlikely that any one there should
have seen even a picture of her, for they are
quiet folk and do not go abroad."
" Besides, in a peasant's dress " began
Osra meditatively. But she stopped, blush-
ing and laughing. And Christian caught
her hand and kissed it, crying :
" For heaven's sake, come, madame ! "
He was so earnest, and his earnestness
so became his bronzed face and bright eyes,
that Osra could not deny him, but she swore
him to secrecy, and agreed to ride with him,
blaming herself all the while very greatly,
and blaming yet more that Fate which
would not allow her to be quit of the
troublesome race of men even in the recesses
of the forest of Zenda.
io6 The Heart of Princess Osra.
Turning their horses, therefore, towards
the frontier, they set them at a smart canter,
for there was little time to lose if they were
to come to the feast by one o'clock ; and
shortly before noon, having struck a bye*-
path through the trees, they came on a
small cottage that stood apart and by it-
self ; and a hill rose from it.
"On the other side of the hill lies the
village, madame," said Christian, jumping
from his horse. " And this is my cottage.
Hallo, there, mother !"
An old woman came out, neatly and
cleanly clad. Christian ran up to her, spoke
to her briefly, and brought her to Osra.
The worthy dame, bewildered by the appear-
ance and stately air of the Princess, did
nothing but curtsey and murmur incoherent
thanks, but Osra, now caught by the ex-
citement of the enterprise, clapped her
hands, crying :
" Quick, quick, or we shall be too late !"
So Christian lifted her down and led
away the horses to a shed behind the cot-
tage. But the old woman led Osra in, and
took her to the bedroom, where lay a
dress such as the peasant girls wore. Osra
took up the skirt, and looked at it curi-
The Courtesy of Christian the Highwayman* 107
" Must I indeed wear this ? " she asked.
" And I am somewhat tall, mother ! "
The old woman said that nothing would
serve save the dress, and Osra sighed. Yet
as there was no help for it, she suffered the
old woman to help her in getting it on.
So the door was shut, and Christian sat
smiling in the sun outside, well pleased at
the success of his audacious scheme, and
feeling Otho's crowns already in his pocket.
Still less did he doubt of this most desir-
able result when the door of the cottage
again opened and Osra came out, blushing,
and yet biting her lips to keep back her
laughter. Her hair was plaited in two long
plaits ; she wore a white bodice, and over it
a jacket of black velvet, and a red skirt hung
full from her waist to but a very little below
her knee ; then came hose of red also for it
was a holiday, and the best of all was worn
and stout square-toed shoes. Osra in her
heart loved all except the shoes, yet she de-
clared that she loathed all except the shoes.
And Christian, with eyes cast most demurely
on the ground, prayed her to forgive the
sad necessity, yet assured her that Lotta
would die of envy that very day.
11 Let us go then," said Osra. " For the
sooner we go, the sooner will it be done,
io8 The Heart of Princess Osra*
and I can get rid of these ridiculous clothes.
Heaven have mercy on me and grant that I
may meet none who know me ! "
They were mounting the hill now, the old
woman standing at the cottage door and
watching. When they reached the top Osra
saw a small village nestling in the valley be-
low, and the sound of music struck on her
ear. At this a sudden fear seized her, and
putting out her hand she caught Christian
by the sleeve, saying :
"Will they know me?"
" Not they, madame," said he. But as he
spoke his eyes fell on a ring that the Princess
wore, a gem engraved with the Royal Arms.
"Not they, if you conceal that ring;" and
for a moment he looked in her face, and he
Osra uttered a little cry, as she hastily
plucked the ring from her finger, and gave
it to him, saying :
" Keep it safe, and do not forget to give
it me again."
But she would not meet his glance, for
she began from now to suspect that he knew
who she was.
The sound of music came from a solid
square-built house that stood on the out-
skirts of the village, and coming nearer they
The Courtesy of Christian the Highwayman* 109
saw a long table spread in the shade near
the house, and a company of men and
women seated at it. The Princess was
somewhat comforted to find that the girls'
dresses were in all respects like her own,
though hers seemed newer and more hand-
some ; therefore she took courage, and put
her arm inside Christian's arm, saying :
" Since I have accepted the part, I will
play it. Come, sir, let us go and challenge
Lotta. Your horse is at stake ! "
" He is in no danger," said Christian,
" and I am worth a thousand crowns." And
his eyes most plainly added the reason which
led him to these comfortable conclusions.
Now at this moment Otho, having toasted
the company and accepted their good
wishes, was standing up before them all,
Lotta standing by him, her hand in his ; and
he vowed (as was but right) all manner of
love and devotion [to her, and declared that
she was the prettiest girl in the world ; in
truth she was very pretty, being, although
low of stature, most admirably formed,
having golden hair, the pinkest of cheeks
artd large blue eyes that followed a man
about in a most appealing and distracting
manner. So that Otho had good reason
to be content, and would have come to no
no The Heart of Princess Osra*
harm, had it not been for that old extrav-
agance of lovers which will not allow this
world to hold more than one pretty girl
the truth being, of course, quite otherwise.
But, led on by this infatuation, Otho cried :
" I dare any man to find so pretty a girl !
As for Master Christian whose wager you
heard why, this evening his fine horse shall
feed in my stable ! "
" Softly, friend Otho, softly," came to the
ears of the feasters from behind the trees.
" Mistress Lotta is very pretty, but I have
here a girl whom some think handsome.
Well, this worthy company shall judge."
And Christian came from the shelter of the
trees leading Osra by the hand, and he set
her opposite to Lotta, where all could see
her. And all looked and beheld her with
amazement. But none spoke. So they
rested for a long while, Christian smiling
and Osra's eyes being set on Lotta, while
Otho did nothing but gaze at Osra.
Presently a low murmur began to run
along the table. " Who is she?" asked
some one, but none could answer. " Who
is she ?" called an old man to Christian, but
he answered, " What's that to you ? Is she
not fairer?" And when the others asked
whence she came, he made the same answer.
The Courtesy of Christian the Highwayman. 1 1 1
But one young fellow leant from his place
and plucked Christian's sleeve, saying, " Is
she promised to you ? " and at this Chris-
tian frowned, answering, " At least she is
not for you," while Osra, overhearing,
blushed mightily. Then Otho, still saying
nothing, suddenly lugged out a great purse
of money, and flung it violently into the
middle of the table with a curse, and Chris-
tian with a mocking lift of his hat, came for-
ward, and, taking it, tossed it up and down
in his hand, crying, " Is it fair weight, neigh-
bour Otho?" Otho did not heed him, but
turned suddenly to Lotta and put his arm
round her waist, saying :
" Aye, it is true. The devil must have
sent her, but it is true. Yet you are pretty
too, my lass." For Lotta, after looking at
all the company and at Osra, had been so
sorely wounded in her pride and robbed of
her triumph, that, poor child, she had begun
to weep, hiding her face in her hands, and
Otho was trying to comfort her, though,
lover as he was, he could not for the life of
him declare that she was more beautiful than
the girl whom Christian had brought. And
they all moved from their places and came
to stand round Osra. But she, after a mo-
ment, caught from Christian the bag that he
ii2 The Heart of Princess Osra.
tossed so exultantly, crying to him : " I'll
be your debtor for it ;" and bursting through
the ring, she ran round the table and came
to Lotta, and, pulling the girl's hands down
from her face, she thrust the bag into her
hands, and began to talk to her, whispering
low, and looking into her frightened eyes
with shining eyes.
" Ah, my dear," said Osra, " see, he still
loves you, dear. Ah, why did I come ? But
I am going away, yes, now, and I shall never
come here again. I do harm wherever I go !
Yes, but you'll be the prettiest girl in the
village always ! Otho, Otho, kiss her, Otho !
Tell her that you love her, Otho. Don't
stand there dumb. Oh, how stupid men
are ! Don't you see what she wants ? Yes,
do it again. I never saw anybody so pretty,
Otho. Yes, yes, dear, keep the bag. It's
from me ; you must keep it, and buy pretty
clothes and be prettier than ever, for Otho's
sake, because he loves you."
By the time the Princess Osra had ended
her consolations, behold she was very nearly
crying herself ! But Lotta put her arms
round the Princess's neck and kissed her,
because she said that Otho still loved her ;
and in her gratitude for this, she forgot
thanks for the bag of crowns, or even to
The Courtesy of Christian the Highwayman* 113
wonder who this girl was that could give
away a thousand crowns. But in this the
rest of the company were not like her, and
an eager murmuring marked the excitement
with which they watched the scene ; and
they cried to Christian :
" Look after your crowns ; " and thought
him mad when he shook his head jauntily,
" Let Otho do what he will with them."
Then, their interest growing more and
more intense, they crowded round the
Princess, scanning her very closely ; and she
was in great fear that she would be known,
and also in some embarrassment from the
ardent glances and free comments of the
simple countrymen, who were accustomed
to say what they thought with more plain-
ness than were the gentlemen of the Court.
So that at length, fairly alarmed, she gave
Lotta a last hasty kiss, and made her way
to Christian, crying: " Take me away."
" Aye, madame," said he, and he put her
arm in his and turned away. But all the
company followed him, staring and gossip-
ing and crowding, so that Lotta and Otho
were left alone at the feast which Otho had
provided, with nothing to console them but
one another's love and the happily recovered
ii4 The Heart of Princess Osra.
thousand crowns. And the crowd pressed
hard on Osra and Christian, being full of
eagerness to see where the girl went and
what became of her. Thus they reached
the top of the hill and came in sight of
Christian's cottage. But now Christian sud-
denly loosed Osra's arm and, turning round,
faced the throng of inquisitive folk ; with
either hand he drew a silver-mounted pistol
from his belt ; and when he had cocked
the pair, he pointed them at his friends and
neighbours, saying in a quiet and pleasant
voice : " I shall count to twenty. Any one
who means to be within range when I come
to twenty had best now order his coffin."
At this a great grumbling arose among
them ; yet they knew Christian, and did
not wait till he had counted, but one and
all turned tail and ran down the hill much
quicker than they had come up. But one
or two fellows, resentful and malicious be-
cause of their disappointment, as soon as
they found themselves out of range, turned
round and shouted :
" Aye, he is ready with his pistol, is
Christian. We know him. Highwayman!
Whom did you last rob ? " And Christian
went red as the frock that Osra wore. But
she turned questioning eyes on him.
The Courtesy of Christian the Highwayman* 115
"Yes," said he sullenly. "They say
highwayman ; it is true. I am a robber.
That is why I said, madame, that I could
not live without my horse."
"Come," said Osra, "let us go to the
So they returned together to the cottage,
saying nothing. There Osra put on her
own clothes again, and having bidden fare-
well to the old woman who asked no
questions of her, mounted her horse. Then
Christian said :
"Shall I ride with you, madame?"
She bowed her head in assent.
Till they entered the forest the Princess
did not speak. But then she sighed,
" I am sorry that I went with you. For
if you had lost your horse maybe you
would have ceased from your way of life.
It is better to lose a horse than to be
" Madame," said he, " you speak pru-
dently. Yet I had rather be hanged than
" I am in your debt a thousand crowns,"
said she, and, stopping her horse, she wrote
for him an order for a thousand crowns, and
she signed it with her own name, Osra, and
n6 The Heart of Princess Osra*
gave it to him. He received it bowing very
" You knew me all the time ? " she asked.
" Yes, madame," said he. They had now
come to where he had first met her.
" Why do you live by robbery?" she
" For the love of the same thing that
made you come with me to-day, madame."
" But could you not find what you love
in the King's service ? "
" I do not like service, madame," said
Christian. " I love to be free."
She paused for a moment, and then said
in a lower tone :
" Could you not endure my service, sir ? "
"In that I shall now live and die,
madame," said he, and she felt his eyes
Again in silence they rode on ; it was
evening now, and had grown dark, and
presently the [lantern in the tower of the
keep of Zenda became visible. Then Osra
" For my sake," said she, " rob no more."
" What you command, madame, is my
law. And here is your ring."
" Keep the ring," she said. " But when
I can serve you, you shall send it back
The Courtesy of Christian the Highwayman, 117
to me, and ask what you will in return for
" There is nothing," said he, very low,
and looking away from her, " that I would
take in exchange for it."
" A foolish man or only a foolish speech ? "
she asked as lightly as she could, with one
fleeting glance at his face.
" A foolish man, madame, it may be, but
a true speech," and he bent bareheaded in
his saddle and raised her hand to his lips.
And, still bareheaded, he turned away and
rode back at a canter into the forest. But
the Princess Osra rode on to the Castle, won-
dering greatly at what she had done that day.
Yet she could not be very sorry that she
had saved his horse for him, and she trusted
that Otho and Lotta would be happy, and
she thought that one man was, after all, as
good flesh and blood as another, and then
that she was a Princess and he a robber,
and that his eyes had been over bold. ^ Yet
there was deference in them also.
" It is a great pity that he should be a
robber," sighed the Princess, as she reached
The Princess Osra's carriage was within
two miles of Strelsau when she put her head
n8 The Heart of Princess Osra*
out of the window and asked the officer who
rode by the wheel why such a throng of
people hastened to the city.
"It is nothing, madame," answered he,
saluting. " It is only that two rogues are
to be hanged to-day."
" What pleasure is there in seeing men
hanged ? " asked Osra scornfully. " I wish
I had not come to-day." And she drew her
head back in disgust. Then she called :
" Go slowly, and do not let me get into the
middle of the wild beasts who go to gloat
over men being hanged."
So the horses were checked to a walk, and
thus the carriage proceeded slowly towards
Strelsau.. But presently the Princess put
her head out of the window again and
" Who are to be hanged to-day, sir?"
" The noted highwayman, Sigismund
Kohl, madame," said the officer. " He
robbed the Archbishop's coach in the forest
of Zenda ; but they pursued him over the
frontier and tracked him to the cottage of
the other rogue, who had a part in many
previous robberies, though not in this. The
second fellow hid Kohl, and tried to put off
the officers, but they caught them both, and
both are to be hanged."
The Courtesy of Christian the Highwayman* 119
" It seems hard," said Osra, " to hang the
one who only sheltered his friend. He could
do no less."
" Nay, madame, he richly deserves it.
Besides his previous robberies, he is gravely
suspected of a most foul murder. For a few
weeks ago he was in company with a girl,
and she seemed to have money and to spare,
and was mighty pretty too, they say. Now
he can give no account of what has become
of her ; but they have found all the clothes
she wore hidden away in his house, and he
says his mother bought the clothes. But
they are a girl's clothes, not an old woman's.
It looks black ; but luckily the other matter
is enough to hang him on. His mother's
clothes, in faith ! Would an old woman,
who died three weeks ago, have bought a
new red frock and smart red stockings for
herself ? "
" A red frock ? Red stockings ? And
the mother is dead ? Dead of what ?"
" Of a chill, madame, such as carries old
people off suddenly. Yes, it looks black, and
so the people think, for when the pair were
brought into the city, though the rascals
cheered Kohl who had only robbed the
Archbishop, they pelted and came near to
killing Christian Hantz."
120 The Heart of Princess Osra.
The Princess's face went pale, and she
sank back, murmuring " Christian Hantz!"
But in another moment she cried :
" At what hour is the hanging ? "
" At noon, madame ; that is, half an hour
Then the Princess cried in a loud urgent
"Faster, faster! Drive at top speed!"
The officers looked at her in wonder ; but
she cried : " A hundred crowns to the
coachman if he brings me to the place before
noon ! Quick, quick !" For she was all on
fire at the thought that Christian Hantz
was to be hanged, not for any new robbery
but because he had sheltered his friend.
And she knew how the red skirt and the
red stockings came in his house ; her
breath caught in her throat, as she thought
how he had suffered stoning and execration
rather than betray her secret. And she
cried out to herself as she was carried along,
" But the ring ! Why did he not send the
By now they were at the gates of the city,
and now within them. The officer and the
two men who were with him rode forward
to clear the road for the Princess. Thus
they made their way on, until they came to
The Courtesy of Christian the Highwayman. 121
the street which leads from the West Gate
to the Cathedral, and could see the gibbet
that had been raised before the prison,
between the Cathedral and the Palace. But
here the whole street was blocked with
people, and the officer could not get the
carriage through, for the folk were thick
as swarming bees all across the roadway,
and even if they would have moved, they
could not ; so the carriage came to a dead
stand, while the officer said to Princess
" Madame, it is useless, we cannot get
through them." Osra sprang from the car-
riage, and she said :
" You have two men with you, sir. For
God's sake, gentlemen, bring me through
to the foot of the scaffold. I care not if it
costs me my life."
" Nor we, madame, though it costs us
ours, since it is your pleasure," they said, as
every man in the city would have said for
the Princess Osra. And the two men went
ahead, while Osra followed with the officer ;
and pushing and struggling, and dodging in
and out, aye, and when need was, hitting,
and buffeting, and kicking, the three took
her through into the square of the Cathedral.
And the clock in the great tower struck noon.
122 The Heart of Princess Osra.
As the bell boomed a cry went up from
the thronged square ; the body of a man
shot from the scaffold to the top of the
gibbet and hung there. The people cried
aloud, some cheering, some also groaning
" Who is it, who is it ?" asked the Princess.
" It is Sigismund Kohl, madame," said
" Then on, on, on ! " she commanded,
and again they struggled forward. Now a
louder and fiercer cry rang out as a man was
brought forward on the scaffold, in his shirt
and breeches. A priest was with him,
holding a crucifix before his eyes. King
Rudolf, who sat at a window of his palace,
asked why they delayed to string the
rascal up ; and one of his gentlemen an-
" Sire, the priest begged a few minutes'
delay. For the obstinate rogue will not
confess to the murder of the girl, and
therefore cannot receive absolution, and the
priest is loth to have him hanged without
" He shall be hanged without it, unless
his conscience act quickly," said the King.
But a moment later, he asked :
" What is the tumult in the corner of the
The Courtesy of Christian the Highwayman* 123
square ? There is a fight there. Let it be
Indeed there was a fight ; for the three
with Osra were bent on getting through,
and the crowd would not let them through ;
and they struck at the crowd, and the
crowd at them. But suddenly some one,
peering past the Guards, exclaimed : " The
Princess Osra, the Princess ! " Then the
blows ceased, and the crowd began slowly
to give back, making way for Osra. And
she walked between walls of people, yet did
not seem to see or to take heed of any of
them ; her eyes were glued to the man on
the scaffold. For even now the priest, who
had held the crucifix, turned sorrowfully
away, and signed with his hand to the
Again the people shouted fiercely for
Christian's death ; and he, stepping forward,
gave himself into the executioner's hands.
Those who were near him saw that there
was a smile on his lips, and, as the hangman
took hold of him, he kissed a little packet
which he held in his right hand. But the
people shrieked loudly: " Murderer, mur-
derer ! Where is the girl ? " At this, stung
beyond endurance, Christian cried, so loudly
that his voice rose above the clamour :
124 The Heart of Princess Osra
" I am no murderer, I did not touch a hair
of her head."
" Then where is she, where is she ?" they
" I do not know," said he ; and he added
in a low tone, kissing his little packet again :
" Wherever she is, God in his graciousness
send her joy." And he turned to the exe-
cutioner, saying, " Get on, man." But then
he looked as it were for the last time on the
living sea of faces round him, and suddenly,
out of all of them, he saw one.
What Christian saw the King saw also,
and he rose from his chair with an oath and
" This sister of mine is a wonderful
wench," said he. " Come, let us see why
she will not have this rascal hanged. Run,
some one, and tell them not to string him
up till I give the word."
The King walked out of the palace and
came into the square, the Guard parting the
people before him ; and Osra, seeing him
coming, stood now quite still, blushing and
smiling, although she was very ashamed and
Then the King came and faced her, say-
ing nothing, but lifting his eyebrows and
The Courtesy of Christian the Highwayman* 125
smiling whimsically ; but at last he whis-
" What, was there a man in the forest,
Osra ? "
And she answered : " Do not ask me
that, sire, but ask Christian Hantz what is
in the packet which he kissed as the hang-
man took hold of him."
" He is not only a robber, but a murderer
also, though he will not own to it."
" No, he is no murderer," said she.
" Look in the packet."
" Then come and look with me," said the
King, and taking her hand he led her up
on to the scaffold in the sight of all the
people, who wondered and laughed ; for
they always laughed at the ways of the
Princess Osra. But she flew straight across
to Christian, who fell on one knee with the
rope round his neck.
"Give me the packet," she cried, and she
tore it open. And in it she found her
order for a thousand crowns and the gem
engraved with the Royal Arms. For an
instant she looked at Christian, and then
she said :
"You have not got money for the order ?
Yet my name is good for a thousand
126 The Heart of Princess Osra.
" To me, madame, it was better than fifty
" But," she broke out eagerly ; " you
should have sent the ring. I could have
" But you would have kept it in return
for the service, madame."
"Aye, sir, that was the bargain," said
Osra, with a little low laugh.
" I knew it. And I preferred to die with
it rather than live without it."
"Another foolish speech !"
"Yes, for the man is foolish, madame."
" And they cry to you, ' Where is the
girl?' And you do not answer, but die
under a foul charge ! "
To this Christian Hantz made no answer
at all, unless it were one to murmur mourn-
" And, madame, they have taken from me
the red skirt and "
The Princess Osra suddenly turned from
him, and went to the King, who had stood
regarding her ; and she knelt down before
him, saying :
" Sire and dear brother, pardon this man.
He did but shelter his friend, and he will
rob no more."
The Courtesy of Christian the Highwayman* 127
" I might forgive him his robberies, if he
would take service in my army."
" Yes, in my regiment of Guards ! " she
" But how shall I forgive that foul mur-
der, of which he is certainly guilty ? For
where, sister, is the pretty girl, of whom no
traces can be found saving her dress, her
red skirt, and ? "
"Sire, these things I pray you, sire, let
your gentlemen stand back a little."
" Stand back, then, gentlemen," said the
" These things, sire, were, by a strange
chance, in the little parcel that the poor
man kissed. Though why he kissed it, I
do not know."
The King took Osra's order for a thou-
sand crowns, and also the gem engraved
with the Royal Arms ; he looked at them
and at his sister.
" Therefore, sire," said she, " I ask life
and pardon for the most courteous gentle-
man in your dominions. Ft>r he prized mj
ring above his life and my secret above his
honour. Sire, such men should live and
The King turned to his officers, and said :
" Gentlemen, the Princess knows that
128 The Heart of Princess Osra*
the girl is alive and well and has no com-
plaint against this man. For he might not
in honour tell who or where she was. And,
for the rest, he did but shelter his friend,
and my sister is surety that he will rob no
more. May he live ?"
When they heard this, they all declared
that Christian should live, and they went
into the crowd and told the people that the
girl was found. Then the people suddenly
veered round and began to cheer Christian,
and some cried, " Who is the girl ? " and
laughed merrily, conceiving that it was a
love affair on which Christian had been
engaged ; and because he preferred to die
under an imputation of murder rather than
endanger his love's reputation, he became a
hero with them ; and when they heard he
was not to die, they dispersed in the utmost
good temper, cheering him and the King,
and above all the Princess Osra, whom
But she went again to Christian, and bade
the hangman take the rope off his neck.
"Will you serve in my regiment of
Guards, sir?" she asked. "Or is service
still irksome to you ? "
" I will serve you. madame," said Chris-
The Courtesy of Christian the Highwayman* 129
" And since you will need equipment, get
money for this order," and she gave him
again the order.
" I must needs obey you, madame, though
" It is well, sir. I trust you will serve me
faithfully. I bid you farewell, sir," and she
bowed slightly, and turned as if to leave
him. And he said nothing, but stood look-
ing at her, so that presently she blushed,
" They will let you have those things now,
Christian bowed very low, and, raising
himself again, looked at her ring.
" Nay, I cannot do that," said Princess
Osra. " But you will see it now and then,
and, now and then, maybe, you can touch
it." And she put the ring on her finger and
held out her hand to him. He knelt and
kissed the ring and then her hand ; but he
looked very glum. And the Princess
laughed openly at him, her eyes dancing in
delight and amusement. But he still looked
more as though he were going to be hanged
than he had any time before in the day.
So that the King, pointing at him, said to
" An ungrateful dog ! Upon my soul he
J3 The Heart of Princess Osra.
looks as though he were sorry not to be
hanged ! Do you call that courtesy ? "
But the Princess laughed softly and rub-
bed the ring on her finger, as she answered :
" Aye, sire, I call that the best of cour-
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein*
IN the days of Rudolf III. there stood on
the hill opposite the Castle of Zenda, and
on the other side of the valley in which the
town lies, on the site where the chdteau of
Tarlenheim now is situated, a fine and
strong castle belonging to Count Nikolas
of Festenburg. He was a noble of very
old and high family, and had great estates ;
his house being, indeed, second only to the
Royal House in rank and reputation. He
himself was a young man of great accom-
plishments, of a domineering temper, and
of much ambition ; and he had gained dis-
tinction in the wars that marked the closing
years of the reign of King Henry the Lion.
With King Rudolf he was not on terms of
cordial friendship, for he despised the King's
easy manners and carelessness of dignity,,
while the King had no love for a gentleman
whose one object seemed to be to surpass
and outshine him in the eyes of his people,
132 The Heart of Princess Osra*
and who never rested from extending and
fortifying his castle until it threatened to
surpass Zenda itself both in strength and
magnificence. Moreover Nikolas, although
maintaining a state ample and suitable to
his rank, was yet careful and prudent,
while Rudolf spent all that he received and
more besides, so that the Count grew
richer and the King poorer. But in spite
of these causes of difference, the Count was
received at Court with apparent gracious-
ness, and no open outburst of enmity had
yet occurred, the pair being, on the contrary,
often together, and sharing their sports and
pastimes with one another.
Now most of these diversions were harm-
less, or, indeed, becoming and proper, but
there was one among' them full of danger to
a man of hot head and ungoverned impulse
such as King Rudolf was. And this one
was diceing, in which the King took great
delight, and in which the Count Nikolas was
very ready to encourage him. The King,
who was generous and hated to win from
poor men or those who might be playing
beyond their means in order to give him
pleasure, was delighted to find an opponent
whose purse was as long or longer than his
own, and thus gradually came to pass many
The Sin of the Bishop of Modensteiru 133
evenings with the boxes in Nikolas's com-
pany. And the more evenings he passed
the deeper he fell into the Count's debt ; for
the King drank wine, while the Count was
content with small beer, and when the
King was losing he doubled his stakes,
whereas the Count took in sail if the wind
seemed adverse. Thus always and steadily
the debt grew, till at last Rudolf dared not
reckon how large it had become, nor did he
dare to disclose it to his advisers. For
there were great public burdens already im-
posed by reason of King Henry's wars,
and the citizens of Strelsau were ncft in a
mood to bear fresh exaction, nor to give their
hard earnings for the payment of the King's
gambling debts ; in fine, although they
loved the Elphbergs well enough, they
loved their money more. Thus the King
had no resource except in his private pos-
sessions, and these were of no great value,
saving the Castle and estate of Zenda.
At length, when they had sat late one
night and the throws had gone all the
evening against the King and for Nikolas,
the King flung himself back in his chair,
drained his glass, and said impatiently :
" I am weary of the game ! Come, my
lord, let us end it."
134 The Heart of Princess Osra*
" I would not urge you, sire, a moment
beyond what you desire. I play but for
" Then my pleasure has been your profit,"
said the King with a vexed laugh, " for
I believe I am stripped of my last crown.
What is my debt?"
The Count, who had the whole sum
reckoned on his tablets, took them out,
and shewed the King the amount of the
" I cannot pay it," said Rudolf. " I would
play you again, to double the debt or wipe
it out* but I have nothing of value enough
The desire which had been nursed for
long in the Count's heart now saw the
moment of its possible realisation.
He leant over the table, and, smoothing
his beard with his hand, said gently :
" The amount is no more than half the
value of your Majesty's Castle and demesne
The King started and forced a laugh.
" Aye, Zenda spoils the prospect from
Festenburg, does it?" said he. "But I
will not risk Zenda. An Elphberg with-
out Zenda would seem like a man robbed
of his wife. We have had it since we have
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein. 135
had anything or been anything. I should
not seem King without it."
" As you will, sire. Then the debt
stands?" He looked full and keenly into
the King's eyes, asking without words,
" How will you pay it ? " and adding with-
out words, " Paid it must be." And the
King read the unspoken words in the eyes
of Count Nikolas.
The King took up his glass, but finding
it empty flung it angrily on the floor, where
it shivered into fragments at Count Nikolas's
feet ; and he shifted in his chair and cursed
softly under his breath. Nikolas sat with
the dice-box in his hand and a smile on his
lips ; for he knew that the King could not
pay, and therefore must play, and he was
in the vein, and did not doubt of winning
from the King Zenda and its demesne.
Then he would be the greatest lord in the
kingdom, and hold for his own a kingdom
within the kingdom, and the two strongest
places in all the land. And a greater
prize might then dangle in reach of his
' The devil spurs and I gallop," said the
King at last. And he took up the dice-box
and rattled it.
" Fortune will smile on you this time, sire,
136 The Heart of Princess Osra*
and I shall not grieve at it," said Count
Nikolas with a courteous smile.
"Curses on her!" cried the King.
" Come, my lord, a quick ending to it ! One
throw, and I am a free man, or you are
master of my castle."
" One throw let it be, sire, for it grows
late," assented Nikolas with a careless air ;
and they both raised the boxes and rattled
the dice inside them. The King threw ;
his throw was a six and a five, and a sudden
gleam of hope lit up his eyes ; he leant
forward in his chair, gripping the elbows of
it with his hands ; his cheeks flushed and
his breath came quickly. With a bow
Count Nikolas raised his hand and threw.
The dice fell and rolled on the table. The
King sank back ; and the Count said with
a smile of apology and a shrug of his
" Indeed I am ashamed. For I cannot
be denied to-night."
For Count Nikolas of Festenburg had
thrown sixes,t and thereby won from the
King the Castle and demesne of Zenda.
He rose from his chair, and, having
buckled on his sword that had lain on the
table by him, and taking his hat in his hand,
stood looking down on the King with a
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein. 137
malicious smile on his face. And he said
with a look that had more mockery than
respect in it :
" Have I your Majesty's leave to with-
draw ? For ere day dawn, I have matters
to transact in Strelsau, and I would be at
my Castle of Zenda to-night."
Then King Rudolf took a sheet of paper
and wrote an order that the Castle, and all
that was in it, and all the demesne should
be surrendered to Count Nikolas of Festen-
burg on his demand, and he gave the paper
to Nikolas. Then he rose up and held out
his hand, which Nikolas kissed, smiling
covertly, and the King said with grace and
" Cousin, my Castle has found a more
worthy master. God give you joy of it."
And he motioned with his hand to be left
alone. Then, when the Count had gone,
he sat down in his chair again, and remained
there till it was full day, neither moving nor
yet sleeping. There he was found by his
gentlemen when they came to dress him,
but none asked him what had passed.
Count Nikolas, now Lord of Zenda, did
not so waste time, and the matters that he
had spoken of did not keep him long in
Strelsau ; but in the early morning he rode
J % o
138 The Heart of Princess Osra*
out, the paper which the King had written
in his belt.
First he rode with all speed to his own
house of Festenburg, and there he gathered
together all his followers, servants, foresters,
and armed retainers, and he told them that
they were to ride with him to Zenda, for
that Zenda was now his and not the King's.
At this they were greatly astonished, but
they ate the fine dinner and drank the wine
which he provided, and in the evening they
rode down the hill very merry, and trotted,
nearly a hundred strong, through the town,
making a great noise, so that they disturbed
the Bishop of Modenstein, who was lying
that night at the inn in the course of a
journey from his See to the Capital ; but
nobody could tell the Bishop why they rode
to Zenda, and presently the Bishop, being
wearied with travelling, went to his bed.
Now King Rudolf, in his chagrin and
dismay, had himself forgotten, or had at
least neglected to warn the Count of Fes-
tenburg, that his sister Princess Osra was
residing at the Castle of Zenda ; for it was
her favourite resort, and she often retired
from the Court and spent many days there
alone. There she was now with two of her
ladies, a small retinue of servants, and no
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein* 139
more than half a dozen Guards ; and when
Count Nikolas came to the gate, it being
then after nine, she had gone to her own
chamber, and sat before the mirror, dressed
in a loose white gown, with her ruddy hair
unbound and floating over her shoulders.
She was reading an old story book, contain-
ing tales of Helen of Troy, of Cleopatra,
of Berenice, and other lovely ladies, very
elegantly related and embellished with fine
pictures. And the Princess, being very
much absorbed in the stories, did not hear
nor notice the arrival of the Count's com-
pany, but continued to read, while Nikolas
roused the watchmen, and the bridge was
let down, and the steward summoned.
Then Nikolas took the steward aside, and
shewed him the King's order, bearing the
King's seal, and the steward, although both
greatly astonished and greatly grieved,
could not deny the letter or the seal, but
declared himself ready to obey and to sur-
render the Castle ; and the sergeant in
command of the Guard said the same ; but,
they added, since the Princess was in the
Castle, they must inform her of the matter,
and take her commands.
" Aye, do," said Nikolas, sitting down in
the great hall. " Tell her not to be dis-
140 The Heart of Princess Osra*
turbed, but to give me the honour of being
her host for as long as she will, and say
that I will wait on her, if it be her pleas-
But he smiled to think of the anger and
scorn with which Osra would receive the
tidings when the steward delivered them to
In this respect the event did not fall short
of his expectations, for she was so indignant
and aghast that, thinking of nothing but
the tidings, she flung away the book and
cried : " Send the Count here to me," and
stood waiting for him there in her chamber,
in her white gown and with her hair un-
bound and flowing down over her shoulders.
And when he came she cried : " What is
this, my lord ?j" and listened to his story
with parted lips and flashing eyes, and thus
read the King's letter and saw the King's
seal. And her eyes filled with tears, but
she dashed them away with her hand.
Then the Count said, bowing to her as
mockingly as he had bowed to her brother :
" It is the fortune of the dice, madame."
" Yes, my lord, as you play the game,"
His eyes were fixed on her, and it seemed
to him that she was more beautiful in her
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein* 141
white gown and with her hair unbound over
her shoulders, than he had ever felt her to
be before, and he eyed her closely. Sud-
denly she looked at him, and for a moment
he averted his eyes ; but he looked again
and her eyes met his. For several mo-
ments she stood rigid and motionless. Then
she said :
" My lord, the King has lost the Castle
of Zenda, which is the home and cradle of
our House. It was scarcely the King's
alone to lose. Have I no title in it ? "
" It was the King's, madame, and now it
is mine," smiled Nikolas.
" Well, then, it is yours," said she, and
taking a step towards him, she said : " Have
you a mind to venture it again, my lord ?"
" I would venture it only against a great
stake," said he, smiling still, while his eyes
were fixed on her face and marked every
change in the colour of her cheeks, i
" I can play dice as well as the King,"
she cried. " Are we not all gamblers, we
Elphbergs ? " And she laughed bitterly.
" But what would your stake be ? " he
Princess Osra's face was now very pale,
but her voice did not tremble and she did
not flinch ; for the honour of her House
142 The Heart of Princess Osra*
and of the throne was as sacred to her as
her salvation, and more than her happiness.
" A stake, my lord,'* said she, " that many
gentlemen have thought above any castle
" Of what do you speak ? " he asked, and
his voice quivered a little, as a man's does
in excitement. " For, pardon me, madame,
but what have you of such value ? "
" I have what the poorest girl has, and
it is of the value that it pleased God to
make it and pleases men to think it," said
Osra. " And all of it I will stake against
the King's Castle of Zenda and its de-
Count Nikolas's eyes flashed and he drew
nearer to her ; he took his dice-box from
his pocket, and he held it up before her,
and he whispered in an eager hoarse voice :
" Name this great stake, madame ; what
is it ? "
" It is myself, my lord," said Princess
" Yourself ? " he cried wondering, though
he had half guessed.
" Aye. To be the Lord of Zenda is
much. Is it not more to be husband to the
King's sister ? "
"It is more," said he, "when the King's
The Sin of the Bishop of Mocfenstein* 143
sister is the Princess Osra." And he looked
at her now with open admiration. But she
did not heed his glance, but with face pale
as death she seized a small table and drew
it between them and cried : " Throw then,
my lord ! We know the stakes."
" If you win, Zenda is yours. If I win,
you are mine."
" Yes, I and Zenda also," said she.
" Throw, my lord ! "
" Shall we throw thrice, madame, or once,
or how often ? "
" Thrice, my lord," she answered, tossing
back her hair behind her neck, and holding
one hand to her side. " Throw first," she
The Count rattled the box ; and the
throw was seven. Osra took the box from
him, looked keenly and defiantly in his eyes,
" Fortune is with you, madame," said he,
biting his lips. " For a five and a four make
nine, or I err greatly."
He took the box from her; his hand
shook, but hers was firm and steady ; and
again he threw.
" Ah, it is but five," said he impatiently,
and a frown settled on his brow.
" It is enough, my lord," said Osra; and
144 The Heart of Princess Osra*
pointed to the dice that :she had thrown, a
three and a one.
The Count's eyes gleamed again ; he
sprang towards her, and was about to
seize the box. But he checked himself sud-
denly, and bowed, saying :
" Throw first this time, I pray you, ma-
dame, if it be not disagreeable to you."
" I do not care which way it is," said Osra,
and she shook and made her third cast.
When she lifted the box, the face of the
dice showed seven. A smile broadened on
the Count's lips, for he thought surely he
could beat seven, he that had beaten eleven
and thereby won the Castle of Zenda, which
now he staked against the Princess Osra.
But his eyes were very keenly and atten-
tively on her, and he held the box poised,
shoulder-high, in his right hand.
Then a sudden faintness and sickness
seized on the Princess, and the composure
that had hitherto upheld her failed ; she
could not meet his glance, nor could she
bear to see the fall of the dice ; but she
turned away her head before he threw, and
stood thus with averted face. But he kept
attentive eyes on her, and drew very near to
the table so that he stood right over it.
And the Princess Osra caught sight of her
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein, 145
own face in the mirror, and started to see
herself pallid and ghastly, and her features
drawn as though she were suffering some
great pain. Yet she uttered no sound,
The dice rattled in the box ; they rattled
on the table ; there was a pause while a
man might quickly count a dozen ; and then
Count Nikolas of Festenburg cried out in
a voice that trembled and tripped over the
" Eight, eight, eight !"
But before the last of the words had left
his shaking lips, the Princess Osra faced
round on him like lightning. She raised
her hand so that the loose white sleeve fell
back from her rounded arm, and her eyes
flashed, and her lips curled as she out-
stretched her arm at him, and cried :
" Foul play ! "
For, as she watched her own pale face in
the mirror the mirror which Count Nikolas
had not heeded she had seen him throw,
she had seen him stand for an instant over
the dice he had thrown with gloomy and
maddened face ; and then she had seen a
slight swift movement of his left hand, as
his fingers deftly darted down and touched
one of the dice and turned it. And all this
3he had seen before he had cried eight.
146 The Heart of Princess Osra*
Therefore now she turned on him, and cried,
" Foul play ! " and before he could speak,
she darted by him towards the door. But
he sprang forward, and caught her by the
arm above the wrist and gripped her, and
his fingers bit into the flesh of her arm, as
he gasped, " You lie ! Where are you
going?" But her voice rang out clear and
loud in answer :
" I am going to tell all the world that
Zenda is ours again, and I am going to
publish in every city in the kingdom that
Count Nikolas of Festenburg is a common
cheat and rogue, and should be whipped at
the cart's tail through the streets of Strelsau.
For I saw you in the mirror, my lord, I saw
you in the mirror ! " And she ended with
a wild laugh that echoed through the room.
Still he gripped her arm, and she did not
flinch; for, an instant he looked full in her
eyes ; covetousness, and desire, and shame,
came all together upon him, and over-mas-
tered him, and he hissed between set teeth :
" You shan't ! By God, you shan't ! "
" Aye, but I will, my lord," said Osra.
" It is a fine tale for the King and for your
friends in Strelsau."
An instant longer he held her where she
was ; and he gasped and licked his lips.
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein. 147
Then he suddenly dragged her with him
towards a couch ; seizing up a coverlet that
lay on the couch he flung it around her, and
he folded it tight about her, and he drew it
close over her face. She could not cry out
nor move. He lifted her up and swung
her over his shoulder, and, opening the door
of the room, dashed down the stairs towards
the great hall.
In the great hall were six of the King's
Guard, and some of the servants of the Cas-
tle, and many of the people who had come
with "Count Nikolas ; they all sprang to
their feet when they saw them. He took
no heed of them, but rushed at a run
through the hall, and out under the port-
cullis and across the bridge, which had not
been raised since he entered. There at the
end of the bridge a lackey held his horse ;
and he leapt on his horse, setting one hand
on the saddle, and still holding Osra ; and
then he cried aloud :
" My men follow me ! To Festenburg ! "
And all his men ran out, the King's
Guard doing nothing to hinder them, and
jumping on their horses and setting them
at a gallop, hurried after the Count. He,
riding furiously, turned towards the town
of Zenda, and the whole company swept
148 The Heart of Princess Osra*
down the hill, and, reaching the town, clat-
tered and dashed through it at full gallop,
neither drawing rein nor turning to right 01
left ; and again they roused the Bishop of
Modenstein, and he turned in his bed, won-
dering what the rush of mounted men
meant. But they, galloping still, climbed
the opposite hill and came to the Castle of
Festenburg with their horses spent and
foundered. In they all crowded, close on
one another's heels ; the bridge was drawn
up ; and there in the entrance they stood
looking at one another, asking mutely what
their master had done, and who was the
lady whom he carried wrapped in the cover-
let. But he ran on till he reached the
stairs, and he climbed them, and entering a
room in the gate-tower, looking over the
moat, he laid the Princess Osra on a couch,
and standing over her he smote one hand
upon the other, and he swore loudly :
" Now, as God lives, Zenda I will have >
and her I will have, and it shall be her
husband whom she must, if she will, pro-
claim a cheat in Strelsau ! "
Then he bent down and lifted the cover-
let from her face. But she did not stir nor
speak, nor open her eyes. For she had
fallen into a swoon as they rode, and did
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein* 149
not know what had befallen her, nor where
she had been brought, nor that she was now
in the Castle of Festenburg, and in the
power of a desperate man. .Thus she lay
still and white, while Count Nikolas stood
over her and bit his nails in rage. And it
was then just on midnight.
On being disturbed for the third time, the
Bishop of Modenstein, whose temper was
hot and cost him continual prayers and
penances from the mastery it strove to win
over him, was very impatient ; and since he
was at once angry and half asleep, it was
long before he could or would understand
the monstrous news with which his terrified
host came trembling and quaking to his
bedside in the dead of the night. A ser-
vant-girl, stammered the frightened fellow,
had run down half dressed and panting from
the Castle of Zenda, and declared that
whether they chose to believe her or not
and, indeed, she could hardly believe such
a thing herself, although she had seen it
with her own eyes from her own window
yet Count Nikolas of Festenburg had
come to the Castle that evening, had spoken
with Princess Osra, and now (they might
call her a liar if they chose) had carried off
the Princess with him on his horse to Fes-
150 The Heart of Princess Osra.
tenburg; alive or dead none knew, and the
men-servants were amazed and terrified,
and the soldiers were at their wits' end,
talking big and threatening to bring ten
thousand men from Strelsau and to leave
not one stone upon another at Festenburg,
and what not. But all the while and for
all their big talk nothing was done ; and
the Princess was at Festenburg, alive or
dead or in what strait none knew. And,
finally, nobody but one poor servant-girl
had had the wit to run down and rouse the
The Bishop of Modenstein sat up in his
bed and he fairly roared at the innkeeper :
" Are there no men, then, who can fight
in the town, fool ?"
" None, none, my lord not against the
Count. Count Nikolas is a terrible man.
Please God, he has not killed the Princess
" Saddle my horse," said the Bishop, " and
be quick with it."
And he leapt out of bed with sparkling
eyes. For the Bishop was a young man,
but a little turned of thirty, and he was a
noble of the old House of Hentzau. Now
some of the Hentzaus (of whom history
tells us of many) have been good, and some
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein* 151
have been bad ; and the good fear God,
while the bad do not ; but neither the good
nor the bad fear anything in the world be-
sides. Hence, for good or ill, they do great
deeds and risk their lives as another man
risks a pemny. So the Bishop, leaving his
bed, dressed himself in breeches and boots,
and set a black hat with a violet feather on
his head, and, staying to put on nothing else
but his shirt and his cloak over it, in ten
minutes was on his horse at the door of the
inn. For a moment he looked at a strag-
gling crowd that had gathered there ; then
with a toss of his head and a curl of his lip
he told them what he thought of them,
saying openly that he thanked heaven they
were not of his diocese, and in an instant
he was galloping through the streets of the
town towards the Castle of Festenburg,
with his sword by his side and a brace of
pistols in the holsters of the saddle. Thus
he left the gossipers and vapourers behind,
and rode alone as he was up the hill, his
blood leaping and his heart beating quick ;
for, as he went, he said to himself :
" It is not often a Churchman has a
chance like this."
On the stroke of half-past twelve he came
to the bridge of the Castle moat, and the
152 The Heart of Princess Osra.
bridge was up. But the Bishop shouted, and
the watchman came out and stood in the
fateway across the moat, and, the night being
ne and clear, he presented an excellent aim.
" My pistol is straight at your head,"
cried the Bishop, " let down the bridge. I
am Frederick of Hentzau ; that is, I am the
Bishop of Modenstein, and I charge you, if
you are a dutiful son of the Church, to
obey me. The pistol is full- at your head/'
The watchman knew the Bishop, but he
also knew the Count his master.
" I dare not let down the bridge without
an order from my lord," he faltered.
" Then before you can turn round, you're
a dead man," said the Bishop.
"Will you hold me harmless with my
lord, if I let it down ? "
" Aye, he shall not hurt you. But if you
do not immediately let it down, I'll shoot
you first and refuse you Christian burial af-
terwards. Come, down with it."
So the watchman, fearing that, if he re-
fused, the Bishop would spare neither body
nor soul, but would destroy the one and
damn the other, let down the bridge, and the
Bishop, leaping from his horse, ran across
with his drawn sword in one hand and a pistol
in the other. Walking into the hall, he
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein. 153
found a great company of Count Nikolas's
men, drinking with one another, but talking
uneasily and seeming alarmed. And the
Bishop raised the hand that held the sword
above his head in the attitude of benedic-
tion, saying, " Peace be with you ! "
Most of them knew him by his face, and
all knew him as soon as a comrade whis-
pered his name, and they sprang to their
feet, uncovering their heads and bowing.
And he said :
" Where is your master the Count ?"
" The Count is upstairs, my lord," they
answered. " You cannot see him now."
" Nay, but I will see him," said the Bishop.
" We are ordered to let none pass," said
they, and although their manner was full of
respect, they spread themselves across the
hall, and thus barred the way to the stair-
case that rose in the corner of the hall.
But the Bishop faced them in great anger,
" Do you think I do not know what has
been done ? Are you all, then, parties in
this treachery? Do you all want to swing
from the turrets of the Castle when the
King comes with a thousand men from
At this they looked at him and at one
154 The Heart of Princess Osra.
another with great uneasiness ; for they knew
that the King had no mercy when he was
roused, and that he loved his sister above
everybody in the world. And the Bishop
stepped up close to their rank. Then one
of them drew his sword half-way from its
scabbard. But the Bishop, perceiving this,
" Do you all do violence to a lady, and
dare to lay hands on the King's sister?
Aye, and here is a fellow that would strike
a Bishop of God's Church ! " And he caught
the fellow a buffet with the flat of his sword,
that knocked him down, " Let me pass, you
rogues," said the Bishop. " Do you think
you can stop a Hentzau ?"
" Let us go and tell the Count that my
lord the Bishop is here," cried the house-
steward, thinking that he had found a way
out of the difficulty ; for they dared neither
to touch the Bishop nor yet to let him
through ; and the steward turned to run
towards the staircase. But the Bishop
sprang after him, quick as an arrow, and,
dropping the pistol from his left hand,
caught him by the shoulder and hurled him
back. " I want no announcing," he said.
"The Church is free to enter everywhere."
And he burst through them at the point of
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein. 155
the sword, reckless now what might befall
him so that he made his way through. But
they did not venture to cut him down ; for
they knew that nothing but death would
stop him, and for their very souls' sake they
dared not kill him. So he, kicking one and
pushing another and laying about him with
the flat of his sword and with his free hand,
and reminding them all the while of their
duty to the Church and of his sacred char-
acter, at last made his way through and
stood alone, unhurt, at the foot of the stair-
case, while they cowered by the walls or
looked at him in stupid helplessness and
bewilderment. And the Bishop swiftly
mounted the stairs.
At this instant in the room in the gate-
tower of the Castle overlooking the moat
there had fallen a moment of dead silence.
Here Count Nikolas had raised the Princess,
set her on a couch, and waited till her faint-
ness and fright were gone. Then he had
come near to her, and in brief harsh tones
told her his mind. For him, indeed, the
dice were now cast ; in his fury and fear he
had dared all. He was calm now, with the
calmness of a man at a great turn of fate.
That room, he told her, she should never
leave alive, save as his promised wife, sworn
156 The Heart of Princess Osra*
and held to secrecy and silence by the force
of that bond and of her oath. If he killed
her he must die, whether by his own hand
or the King's mattered little. But he would
die for a great cause and in a great venture.
" I shall not be called a cheating gamester,
madame," said he, a smile on his pale face.
" I choose death sooner than disgrace.
Such is my choice. What is yours ? It
stands between death and silence ; and no
man but your husband will dare to trust
" You do not dare to kill me," said she de-
" Madame, I dare do nothing else. They
may write 'murderer' on my tomb; they
shall not throw 'cheat' in my living face."
" I will not be silent," cried Osra, springing
to her feet. " And rather than be your wife
I would die a thousand times. For a cheat
you are a cheat a cheat ! " Her voice
rose, till he feared that she would be heard,
if any one chanced to listen, even from so
far off as the hall. Yet he made one more
effort, seeking to move her by an appeal
to which women are not wont to be insen-
" A cheat, yes !" said he. " I, Nikolas of
Festenburg, am a cheat. I say it, though no
The Sin of the Bishop of Modensteiru 157
other man shall while I live to hear him.
But to gain what stake ?"
" Why, my brother's Castle of Zenda."
" I swear to you it was not," he cried,
coming nearer to her. " I did not fear losing
on the cast, but I could not endure not to
win. Not my stake, madame, but yours
lured me to my foul play. Have you your
face, and yet do not know to what it drives
" If I have a fair face, it should inspire
fair deeds," said she. " Do not touch me,
sir, do not touch me. I loathe breathing the
same air with you, or so much as seeing your
face. Aye, and I can die. Even the women
of our House know how to die."
At her scorn and contempt a great rage
came upon him, and he gripped the hilt of
his sword, and drew it from the scabbard.
But she stood still, facing him with calm
eyes. Her lips moved for a moment in
prayer, but she did not shrink.
" I pray you," said he in trembling speech,
mastering himself for an instant, " I pray
you !" But he could say no more.
" I will cry your cheating in all Strelsau,"
"Then commend your soul to God. For
in one minute you shall die."
158 The Heart of Princess Osra.
Still she stood motionless ; and he began
to come near to her, his sword now drawn in
his hand. Having come within the distance
from which he could strike her, he paused
and gazed into her eyes. She answered him
with a smile. Then there was for an instant
the utter stillness in the room ; and in that
instant the Bishop of Modenstein set his
foot on the staircase and came running up.
On a sudden Osra heard the step, and a
gleam flashed in her eye. The Count heard
it also, and his sword was arrested in its
stroke. A smile came on his face. He was
glad at the coming of some one whom he
might kill in fight ; for it turned him
sick to butcher her unresisting. Yet he
dared not let her go, to cry his cheating in
the streets of Strelsau. The steps came
He dropped his sword on the floor and
sprang upon her. A shriek rang out, but
he pressed his hand on her mouth and seized
her in his arms. She had no strength to
resist, and he carried her swiftly across the
room to a door in the wall. He pulled the
door open it was very heavy and massive
and he flung her down roughly on the stone
floor of a little chamber, square and lofty,
having but one small window high up,
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein. 159
through which the moonlight scarcely
pierced. She fell with a moan of pain.
Unheeding, he turned on his heel and shut
the door. And, as he turned, he heard a
man throw himself against the door of the
room. It also was strong and twice the
man hurled himself with all his force against
it. At last it strained and gave way ; and
the Bishop of Modenstein burst into the
room breathless. And he saw no trace of
the Princess's presence, but only Count
Nikolas standing sword in hand in front of
the door in the wall with a sneering smile
on his face.
The Bishop of Modenstein never loved to
speak afterwards of what followed, saying
always that he rather deplored than gloried
in it, and that when a man of sacred pro-
fession was forced to use the weapons of
this world it was a matter of grief to him,
not of vaunting. But the King compelled
him by urgent requests to describe the
whole affair, while the Princess was never
weary of telling all that she knew, or of
blessing all bishops for the sake of the
Bishop of Modenstein. Yet the Bishop
blamed himself ; perhaps, if the truth were
known, not for the necessity that drove him
to do what he did, as much as for a secret
160 The Heart of Princess Osra*
and ashamed joy which he detected in him-
self. For certainly, as he burst into the
room now, there was no sign of reluctance
or unwillingness in his face ; he took off his
feathered hat, bowed politely to the Count,
and resting the point of his sword on the
floor, asked :
" My lord, where is the Princess ? "
4 What do you want here, and who are
you ?" cried the Count with a blasphemous
" When we were boys together, you knew
Frederick of Hentzau. Do you not now
know the Bishop of Modenstein ? "
" Bishop ! This is no place for bishops.
Get back to your prayers, my lord."
u It wants some time yet before matins,"
answered the Bishop. " My lord, where is
the Princess ? "
" What do you want with her ? "
" I am here to escort her wherever it
may be her pleasure to go."
He spoke confidently, but he was in his
heart alarmed and uneasy because he had
not found the Princess.
11 1 do not know where she is," said
Nikolas of Festenburg.
" My lord, you lie," said the Bishop of
MY LORD, WHERE IS THE PRINCESS ?' "Page l6o.
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein* 16.1
The Count had wanted nothing but an
excuse for attacking the intruder. He had
it now, and an angry flush mounted in his
cheeks as he walked across to where the
Shifting his sword, which he had picked
up again, to his left hand, he struck the
Bishop on the face with his gloved hand.
The Bishop smiled and turned the other
cheek to Count Nikolas, who struck again
with all his force, so that he reeled back,
catching hold of the open door to avoid
falling, and the blood started dull red under
the skin of his face. But he still smiled,
and bowed, saying :
" I find nothing about the third blow in
At this instant the Princess Osra, who
had been half stunned by the violence with
which Nikolas had thrown her on the floor,
came to her full senses and, hearing the
Bishop's voice, she cried out loudly for help.
He, hearing her, darted in an instant across
the room, and was at the door of the little
chamber before the Count could stop him.
He pulled the door open and Osra sprang
out to him, saying :
" Save me ! Save me!"
" You are safe, madame, have no fear,"
162 The Heart of Princess Osra,
answered the Bishop. And turning to the
Count, he continued : " Let us go outside,
my lord, and discuss this matter. Our dis-
pute will disturb and perhaps alarm the
And a man might have read the purpose
in his eyes, though his manner and words
were gentle ; for he had sworn in his heart
that the Count should not escape.
But the Count cared as little for the
presence of the Princess as he had for her
dignity, her honour, or her life : and now
that she was no longer wholly at his mercy,
but there was a new chance that she might
escape, his rage and the fear of exposure
lashed him to fury, and, without more talk-
ing, he made at the Bishop, crying :
" You first, and then her ! I'll be rid of
the pair of you ? "
The Bishop faced him, standing between
Princess Osra and his assault, while she
shrank back a little, sheltering herself be-
hind the heavy door. For although she
had been ready to die without fear, yet the
sight of men fighting frightened her, and
she veiled her face with her hands, and
waited in dread to hear the sound of their
swords clashing. But the Bishop looked
very happy, and, setting his hat on his head
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein. 163
with a jaunty air, he stood on guard. For
ten years or more he had not used his
sword, but the secret of its mastery seemed
to revive, fresh and clear in his mind, and
let his soul say what it would, his body
rejoiced to be at the exercise again, so that
his blood kindled and his eyes gleamed in
the glee of strife. Thus he stepped for-
ward, guarding himself, and thus he met
the Count's impetuous onset ; he neither
flinched nor gave back, but finding himself
holding his own, he pressed on and on, not
violently attacking and yet never resting,
and turning every thrust with a wrist of
iron. And while Osra now gazed with wide
eyes and close-held breath, and Count
Nikolas muttered oaths and grew more
furious, the Bishop seemed as gay as when
he talked to the King, more gaily, may be,
than Bishops should. Again his eye
danced as in the days when he had been
called the wildest of the Hentzaus. And
still he drove Count Nikolas back and back.
Now behind the Count was a window,
which he himself had caused to be enlarged
and made low and wide, in order that he
might look from it over the surrounding
country ; in time of war it was covered with
a close and strong iron grating. But now
164 The Heart of Princess Osra.
the grating was off and the window open,
and beneath the window was a fall of fifty
feet or hard upon it into the moat below.
The Count, looking into the Bishop's face,
and seeing him smile, suddenly recollected
the window, and fancied it was the Bishop's
design to drive him on to it so that he
could give back no more ; and, since he
knew by now that the Bishop was his master
with the sword, a despairing rage settled
upon him ; determining to die swiftly, since
die he must, he rushed forward, making a
desperate lunge at his enemy. But the
Bishop parried the lunge, and, always seem-
ing to be about to run the Count through
the body, again forced him to retreat till his
back was close to the opening of the win-
dow. Here Nikolas stood, his eyes glaring
like a madman's ; then a sudden devilish
smile spread over his face.
' Will you yield yourself, my lord ? " cried
the Bishop, putting a restraint on the
wicked impulse to kill the man, and lower-
ing his point for an instant.
In that short moment the Count made
his last throw ; for all at once, as it seemed,
and almost in one motion, he thrust and
wounded the Bishop in the left side of his
body, high in the chest near the shoulder,
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein* 165
and, though the wound was slight, the blood
flowed freely ; then drawing back his sword,
he seized it by the blade half-way up and
flung it like a javelin at the Princess, who
stood still by the door, breathlessly watch-
ing the fight. By an ace it missed her
head, and it pinned a tress of her hair to the
door and quivered deep-set in the wood of
the door. When the Bishop of Modenstein
saw this, hesitation and mercy passed out
of his heart, and though the man had now
no weapon, he thought of sparing him no
more than he would have spared any cruel
and savage beast, but he drove his sword
into his body, and the Count, not being able
to endure the thrust without flinching,
against his own will gave back before it.
Then came from his lips a loud cry of dis-
may and despair ; for at the same moment
that the sword was in him he, staggering
back, fell wounded to death through the open
window. The Bishop looked out after him,
and Princess Osra heard the sound of a
great splash in the water of the moat be-
low ; for very horror she sank against the
door, seeming to be held up more by the
sword that had pinned her hair than by
her own strength. Then came up through
the window, from which the Bishop still
1 66 The Heart of Princess Osra.
looked with a strange smile, the clatter of
a hundred feet, running to the gate of the
Castle. The bridge was let down ; the con-
fused sound of many men talking, of whis-
pers, of shouts, and of cries of horror,
mounted up through the air. For the
Count's men in the hall also had heard the
splash, and run out to see what it was,
and there they beheld the body of their
master, dead in the^moat; their eyes were
wide open, and they could hardly lay their
tongues to the words as they pointed to
the body and whispered to one another,
very low : " The Bishop has killed him
the Bishop has killed him." But the Bishop
saw them from the window, and leant out,
"Yes, I have killed him. So perish all
such villains ! "
When they looked up, and saw in the
moonlight the Bishop's face, they were
amazed. But he hastily drew his head in,
so that they might not see him any more.
For he knew that his face had been fierce,
and exultant, and joyful. Then, dropping
his sword, he ran across to the Princess ;
he drew the Count's sword, which was wet
with his own blood, out of the door, releas-
ing the Princess's hair ; and, seeing that
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein. 167
she was very faint, he put his arm about
her, and led hereto the couch ; she sank
upon it, trembling and white as her white
gown, and murmuring : " Fearful, fearful ! "
and she clutched his arm, and for a long
while she would not let him go ; and her
eyes were fixed on the Count's sword that
lay on the floor by the entrance of the little
" Courage, madame," said the Bishop
softly. " All danger is past. The villain is
dead, and you are with the most devoted of
" Yes, yes," she said, and pressed his arm
and shivered. " Is he really dead ?"
" He is dead. God have mercy on him,"
said the Bishop.
" And you killed him?"
" I killed him. If it were a sin, pray
God forgive me ! "
Up through the window still came the
noise of voices and the stir of men moving ;
for they were recovering the body of the
Count from the moat ; yet neither Osra
nor the Bishop noticed any longer what was
passing ; he was intent on her, and she
seemed hardly yet herself ; but suddenly,
before he could interpose, she threw her-
self off the couch and on to her knees
i68 The Heart of Princess Osra.
in front of him, and, seizing hold of his
hand, she kissed first the episcopal ring
that he wore and then his hand. For he
was both Bishop and a gallant gentleman,
and a kiss she gave him for each ; and after
she had kissed his hand, she held it in both
of hers as though for safety's sake she
clung to it. But he raised her hastily, cry-
ing to her not to kneel before him, and,
throwing away his hat, he knelt before her,
kissing her hands many times. She seemed
now recovered from her bewilderment and
terror ; for as she looked down on him
kneeling, she was half-way between tears
and smiles, and with curving lips but wet
shining eyes, she said very softly :
"Ah, my lord, who made a bishop of
you?" And her cheeks grew in an instant
from dead white into sudden red, and her
hand moved over his head as if she would
fain have touched him with it. And she
bent down ever so little towards him. Yet,
perhaps, it was nothing ; any lady, who had
seen how he bore himself, and knew that
it was in her cause, for her honour and life,
might well have done the same.
The Bishop of Modenstein made no im-
mediate answer ; his head was still bowed
over her hand, and after a while he kissed
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein. 169
her hand again ; and he felt her hand press
his. Then, suddenly, as though in alarm,
she drew her hand away, and he let it go
easily. Then he raised his eyes and met
the glance of hers, and he smiled ; and
Osra also smiled. For an instant they
were thus. Then the Bishop rose to his
feet, and he stood before her with bent
head and eyes that sought the ground in
" It is by God's infinite goodness and
divine permission that I hold my sacred
office." said he. " I would that I were
more worthy of it ! But to-day I have
taken pleasure in the killing of a man."
"And in the saving of a lady, sir," she
added softly, "who will ever count you
among her dearest friends and the most
gallant of her defenders. Is God angry at
such a deed as that ? "
" May He forgive us all our sins," said
the Bishop gravely ; but what other sins he
had in his mind he did not say, nor did the
Princess ask him.
Then he gave her his arm, and they two
walked together down the stairs into the
hall ; the Bishop, having forgotten both his
hat and his sword, was bare-headed and
had no weapon in his hand. The Count's
170 The Heart of Princess Osra.
men were all collected in the hall, being
crowded round a table that stood by the
wall ; for on the table lay the body of Count
Nikolas of Festenburg, and it was covered
with a horse-cloth that one of the servants
had thrown over it. But when the men
saw the Princess and the Bishop, they made
way for them and stood aside, bowing low
as they passed.
" You bow now," said Osra, " but, be-
fore, none of you would lift a finger for me.
To my lord the Bishop alone do I owe my
life ; and he is a Churchman, while you were
free to fight for me. For my part, I do not
envy your wives such husbands ; " and with
a most scornful air she passed between
their ranks, taking great and ostentatious
care not to touch one of them even with the
hem of her gown. At this they grew red
and shuffled on their feet ; and one or two
swore under their breath, and thanked God
their wives were not such shrews, being
indeed very much ashamed of themselves,
and very uneasy at thinking what these
same wives of theirs would say to them
when the thing came to be known. But
Osra and the Bishop passed over the
bridge, and he set her on his horse The
summer morning had just dawned, clear and
HE WALKED WITH HIS HEAD DOWN AND HIS EYES ON THE GROUND." Page I? I.
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein* 171
fair, so that the sun caught her ruddy hair
as she mounted in her white gown. But
the Bishop took the bridle of the horse and
led it at a foot's pace down the hill and
into the town.
Now by this time the news of what had
chanced had run all through the town, and
the people were out in the streets, gossip-
ing and guessing. And when they saw the
Princess Osra safe and sound and smiling,
and the Bishop in his shirt for he had
given his cloak to her leading the horse,
they broke into great cheering. The men
cheered the Princess, while the women
thrust themselves to the front rank of the
crowd, and blessed the Bishop of Moden-
stein. But he walked with his head down
and his eyes on the ground, and would not
look up, even when the women cried out in
great fear and admiration on seeing that
his shirt was stained with his blood and
with the blood of Nikolas of Festenburg
that had spurted out upon it. But one
thing the Princess heard, which sent her
cheeks red again ; for a buxom girl glanced
merrily at her, and made bold to say in
a tone that the Princess could not but
" By the Saints, here's waste ! If he
172 The Heart of Princess Osra.
were not a Churchman, now ! " And her
laughing eye travelled from the Princess to
him, and back to the Princess again.
4< Shall we go a little faster?" whispered
Osra, bending down to the Bishop. But
the girl only thought that she whispered
something else, and laughed the more.
At last they passed the town, and with
a great crowd still following them, came
to the Castle. At the gate of it the Bishop
stopped and aided the Princess to alight.
Again he knelt and kissed her hand, say-
ing only :
" Madame, farewell !"
" Farewell, my lord," said Osra softly ;
and she went hastily into the Castle, while
the Bishop returned to his inn in the town,
and though the people stood round the
inn the best part of the day, calling and
watching for him, he would not shew him-
In the evening of that day the King,
having heard the tidings of the crime of
Count Nikolas, came in furious haste with
a troop of horse from Strelsau. And when
he heard how Osra had played at dice with
the Count, and staking herself against the
Castle of Zenda had won it back, he was
ashamed, and swore an oath that he would
The Sin of the Bishop of Modenstein. 173
play dice no more, which oath he faithfully
observed. But in the morning of the next
day he went to Festenburg, where he
flogged soundly every man who had not
run away before his coming ; and all the
possessions of Count Nikolas he confis-
cated, and he pulled down the Castle of
Festenburg, and filled up the moat that had
run round its walls.
Then he sent for the Bishop of Moden-
stein, and thanked him, offering to him all
the demesne of Count Nikolas ; but the
Bishop would not accept it, nor any mark
of the King's favour, not even the Order of
the Red Rose. Therefore the King granted
the ground on which the Castle stood,
and all the lands belonging to it, to Francis
of Tarlenheim, brother-in-law to the wife of
Prince Henry, who built the ckdteau which
now stands there and belongs to the same
family to this day.
But the Bishop of Modenstein, having
been entertained by the King with great
splendour for two days, would not stay
longer, but set out to pursue his journey,
clad now in his ecclesiastical garments.
And Princess Osra sat by her window, lean-
ing her head on her hand, and watching him
till the trees of the forest hid him ; and once,
174 The Heart of Princess Osra.
when he was on the edge of the forest,
he turned his face for an instant, and
looked back at her where she sat watching
in the window. Thus he went to Strelsau ;
and when he was come there, he sent im-
mediately for his confessor, and the con-
fessor, having heard him, laid upon him a
severe penance, which he performed with
great zeal, exactness, and contrition. But
whether the penance were for killing Count
Nikolas of Festenburg (which in a layman,
at least, would have seemed but a venial
sin) or for what else, who shall say ?
The Device of Giraldo the Painter*
WHEN the twenty-first birthday of the
Princess Osra approached, her brother
King Rudolf, desiring to make her a pres-
ent, summoned from his home at Verona,
in Italy, a painter of very high fame, by
name Giraldo, and commanded him to paint
a portrait of the Princess, to be her brother's
gift to her. This command Giraldo carried
out, the Princess giving him every oppor-
tunity of studying her features and grudg-
ing no time that was spent by her in front
of his easel ; and the picture, when finished,
being pronounced to be as faithful as
beautiful the reputation of Giraldo was
greatly enhanced by the painting of it.
Thus it followed that in many cases, when
foreign Princes had heard the widespread
praises of Osra's beauty, they sent orders
to Giraldo to execute for them, and despatch
with all speed, miniatures or other portraits
of the Princess, that they might judge for
176 The Heart of Princess Osra.
themselves whether she were in truth as
lovely as report said ; and they sent Giraldo
large sums of money in recompense, adding
not seldom some further donation on the
express term and condition that Giraldo
should observe absolute fidelity in his
representation and not permit himself the
least flattery. For some desired them-
selves to court her, and others intended
their sons to ask her hand, if the evidence
of Giraldo's portraits satisfied their hopes.
So Giraldo, although but two or three
years above thirty, grew in both fame and
wealth, and was very often indebted to the
Princess for the favour of a visit to his
house, that he might again correct his
memory of her face.
Now what several Princes had done be-
fore, it chanced that the King of Glotten-
berg also did ; and Giraldo, to all appear-
ance much pleased, accepted the command,
and prayed the Princess to visit him ; for,
he said, this picture was to be larger and
more elaborate than the rest, and therefore
needed more study of her. So the Princess
went many times, and the portrait destined
for the King of Glottenberg (who was said
to be seeking a suitable alliance for his
eldest son) grew before her eyes into the
The Device of Giraldo the Painter. 177
most perfect and beautiful presentment of
her which the skill of Giraldo had ever
accomplished, surpassing even that first pic-
ture which he had painted by King Rudolfs
command. The King made no doubt that,
so soon as the picture had reached the Court
of Glottenberg, an embassy would come
from there to demand the hand of his
sister for the Crown Prince, a proposal
which he would have received with much
pleasure and gratification.
" I do not think," said Osra, tossing her
head, " that any such embassy will come,
sire. For four or five pictures have been al-
ready painted by Signor Giraldo in like man-
ner, but no embassies have come. It seems
that my poor features do not find approval
in the Courts of Europe."
Her tone, it must be confessed, was full
of contempt. For the Princess Osra knew
that she was beautiful, as indeed all beauti-
ful ladies are, by the benevolence of
heaven, permitted to know. How much
greater mischief might they work, if such
knowledge were denied them !
" That's true enough," cried Rudolf.
" And I do not understand the meaning of it.
But it will not be so at Glottenberg. For
my good brother the King has eyes in his
1 78 The Heart of Princess Osra*
head, and his son sees no less well. I met
them on my travels, and I can speak to
it. Most certainly an embassy will come
from Glottenberg before we are a month
Yet, strange to say, the same thing fol-
lowed on the despatch of the portrait
(which Giraldo sent by a certain trusty
messenger, whom he was accustomed to
employ) as had happened before ; no em-
bassy came, and the King of Glottenberg
excused himself from paying a visit to Strel-
sau, which he and his son had promised on
the invitation of King Rudolf. Therefore
Rudolf was very vexed, and Osra also,
thinking herself scorned, was very sore at
heart, although she bore herself more
proudly than before. But, being very
greatly disturbed in her mind concerning
her beauty, she went herself again to
Giraldo and charged him to paint her once
"This picture," she said, "is for my own
eyes, and mine alone. Therefore, signer,
paint it faithfully, and spare me not. For
if a woman be ugly, it is well she should
know it, and it seems that nobody in the
kingdom will tell me the truth, although I
get hints enough of it from abroad," And
The Device of Giraldo the Painter* 179
she frowned and flushed and was very sadly
out of temper, as any beautiful lady would
most naturally be in such a case.
Giraldo bowed very low, seeking to hide
the sudden red that dyed his cheek, and to
conceal the great joy which the command
of the Princess gave him. For by reason
of having painted the Princess so often, of
having studied her face so curiously, and of
having spent so much time in her company,
listening to her conversation, and enjoying
her wit and grace, this hapless young man
had become so deeply and desperately her
lover, that he no longer cared to use his
brush in the service of any other lady or
lord, but stayed at Strelsau solely that he
might again and again depict the face that
he loved ; and, save when she sat before
him, he seemed now unable to ply his art at
all, and had he not received so many com-
mands for pictures of her, he would have sat
all day long idle, thinking of her; which,
indeed, was what he did in the intervals
between his labour on her portraits. But
she, not imagining such presumption and
folly on his part, thought that he was glad
merely because she would pay him well ;
so she promised him more and more, if he
would but paint her faithfully. And he gave
180 The Heart of Princess Osra*
her his word that he would paint her in
every respect most faithfully.
" I desire to know," said she, "what I
am in truth like ; for my mirror says one
thing, and the King of Glottenberg '
But here she stopped, remembering that
such matters were not fit for Giraldo's ears.
Yet he must have understood, for a strange,
cunning, exultant smile came on his lips as
he turned away and set himself to mix
the colours on his palette. Thus he began
this last picture and the Princess came
every day and stayed long, so that Gir-
aldo might be able to render her likeness
in every most minute respect with perfect
"For," she thought resentfully, " either
I have no eyes, or they have none in Glot-
When she had been visiting Giraldo thus
for hard on a month, and the picture was
nearly finished, and was at once the most
lovely and the most faithful of all that
Giraldo had painted, it chanced that letters
came to the King from a nobleman of
France who was well known to him, and
had known the Princess well also, the Mar-
quis de Merosailles. And the Marquis
wrote to the King in the greatest indigna-
The Device of Giraldo the Painter. 181
tion and scorn, upbraiding the King and
" What is this, sire ? Do you keep a
madman at your Court, and call him a
painter ? I have been at Glottenberg ; and
when I spoke there, as it is my humble
duty and true delight to speak every-
where, of the incomparable beauty of your
Majesty's sister the Princess Osra, the
King, his son, and all the company, did
nothing but laugh. I fought three duels
with gentlemen of the Court on this ac-
count, and two of them I, heaven helping
me, wounded, and one, by some devil's
trick, wounded me. After this, the matter
coming to the King's ear, he sent for me,
and excused the laughter by showing me a
picture done by a rascal called Giraldo at
your Court, the picture was named after
your Majesty's most matchless sister ; but,
as I am a true son of the Church, it was
like the devil's daughter, and, on my
honour and conscience, it squinted most
villainously. I pray you, sire, find out
the meaning of this thing ; and receive
most humble duty and homage from your
devoted sj^arjt, and, since your gracious-
ness so wills it, most obftged and obedient
friend, Henri Marquis de Merosailles. I
kiss the hand of the Princess."
1 82 The Heart of Princess Osra.
When King Rudolf had read this letter,
he grew very thoughtful, and, unknown to
Giraldo, he sent and caught the messenger
whom Giraldo was wont to entrust with the
pictures, and who carried the picture of
which M. de Merosailles wrote to Glotten-
berg ; and the King interrogated the messen-
ger most closely, but got nothing from
him, save that he himself never beheld the
pictures which he carried, but received
them most carefully packed from Giraldo,
and so delivered them without undoing the
coverings, and then by Giraldo's strict
orders returned at once, and did not wait
until the recipient had inspected the picture.
So that the fellow did not know anything
about the picture that had gone to Glotten-
berg, except that it was certainly the same
as Giraldo had entrusted to his hands.
But the King was not satisfied, and, learn-
ing that his sister was at that moment at
Giraldo's house, being painted afresh by
him, he called half-a-dozen of his gentle-
men, and set out on horseback for the place
where Giraldo lived in the street that runs
from the Cathedral towards the western
gate of Strelsau. To this day the house
The Princess sat and Giraldo painted.
The Device of Giraldo the Painter* 183
Behind the Princess was a window, looking
on to the street, and behind Giraldo was a
second door, which led into an inner room.
On Giraldo's easel stood the nearly finished
picture ; Giraldo's eyes were alight both
with love and with triumph, as he turned
from the Princess to the picture, and from
the picture to the Princess again ; and she,
seeing something of his admiration, said
with a blush :
"Is it indeed faithful, signer?" For it
seemed even to herself a marvellously lovely
" No, madame," answered he. " For my
imperfect hand cannot be faithful to per-
" I pray you, do not flatter me. Have
you indeed shewn every fault of my face ? "
" If there be a fault in your face,
madame, there it is also in my picture," said
The Princess was silent for a moment,
then she said :
" It is better, is it not, than the picture
you painted for the King of Glotten-
Giraldo painted a stroke or two before he
answered carelessly :
" Indeed, madame, it is more faithful
184 The Heart of Princess Osra*
than that which the King of Glottenberg
" Then less beautiful ? " asked Osra with
a petulant smile.
" Nay, I do not say that ; not less beauti-
ful," he answered.
" Perhaps he would like this one better,
and give me his in exchange ; for I never
saw his after it was finished. I think I will
ask the King to write to him."
Giraldo had turned round suddenly as the
Princess made this suggestion ; she had
spoken half in sport, half in continuing
chagrin at the blindness shewn by the Court
of Glottenberg. Now he stood staring at
her with wide-open alarmed eyes ; and he
dropped his brushes on to the floor.
" What ails you, signor ? " she cried. " I
did but suggest exchanging the pictures."
He tried to regain his composure, as he
stooped to pick up his brushes.
" The King of Glottenberg's picture is
the best for him to have," said he sullenly.
' This one, madame, I painted for you
yourself, and for you alone."
" I pay the price and can do what I will
with the picture," returned the Princess
haughtily. " If I desire, I will give it to
the King of Glottenberg."
The Device of Giraldo the Painter. 185
Giraldo had now turned very pale, and,
forgetful of the picture, stood gazing fixedly
at the Princess. For he could no longer
hold down in secrecy and silence the passion
that possessed him, but it was declared in
his eyes and in the trembling of his limbs ;
so that the Princess rose from her chair
and shrank away from him in alarm, re-
gretting that she had dismissed her ladies,
in order to be less restrained in talk with
the painter ; and she tried to cry out, that
they might hear her where they were in an
adjoining room, but her cry froze on her
lips at the sight of Giraldo's passion. And
he cried in a hoarse whisper:
" He shall not have the picture, he shall
not have it ! " As he spoke he moved
nearer to the Princess, who still shrank
away from him, being now in very great
alarm, and thinking that surely he had run
mad. Yet she looked at him, and, looking,
saw whence his madness came ; and she
felt pity for him, and held out her clasped
hands towards him, saying in a very soft
voice, and with eyes that grew sad and
" Ah, signor, signor, am I always to
have lovers, and never a friend ? "
At this the unfortunate painter was over-
1 86 The Heart of Princess Osra*
come, and dropping his head between his
hands he gave a deep half-stifled sob, and
then he cried :
" God's curse on me, for having slan-
dered the beauty that I love ! " And then
he sobbed again.
But the Princess wondered greatly what
he meant by his strange cry, and turned
her eyes again on him in bewildered ques-
tioning ; saying, as she pointed to the
" There is no slander here, signor, unless
too much praise be slander."
Giraldo made her no answer in words, but,
springing towards her, caught her .by the
wrist, and drew her across the room to the
door behind his easel. With feverish haste
he unlocked it and passed through. The
Princess, although now free from his grip,
followed him in a strange fascination.
Giraldo drew the door close behind him ;
and at that moment the Princess gave a cry,
half a scream, half laughter. For facing
her she saw, each on its easel, three, four,
five, six pictures of herself, each beautiful
and painted most lovingly ; and the last of
the six was the picture that had been
painted by order of the King of Glotten-
berg. For she knew it by the attire,
The Device of Giraldo the Painter. 187
although the face had not been finished
when she had last seen it. A sudden en-
lightenment pierced her mind, and she knew
that Giraldo had not sent the pictures for
which she had sat to him, but kept them
himself, and sent others to his patrons.
This strange conviction found its sure con-
firmation in a seventh easel which stood
apart from the rest, on the other side of the
room ; for it supported what was in all
respects a copy of the portrait on which
Giraldo was now engaged, save that by
cunning touches he had imparted to the
face an alien and fearful aspect ; for here,
although the features had their shape and
perfect grace, yet it was the face of a devil
that looked out of the canvas, a face that a
man would not have gazing at him from the
wall on to the bed where he sought to sleep.
But when Giraldo saw her eyes fixed on
this picture, he cried :
" That is for you the other is mine.
Are they not your features ? The King of
Glottenberg should not have even your
features. But you shall have them, and if a
devil looks out through such a fair mask, is
it not so with all fair women that lead men
to destruction ? There is your true picture,
Princess Osra ! " And he flung himself on
1 88 The Heart of Princess Osra.
a couch with a mad cry of rage, and then a
groan of despair.
The Princess Osra looked at him, and at
the beautiful pictures, and then at the pic-
ture that was like her and yet like a devil.
First she pitied the painter, and then mar-
velled at the wonderful mad skill, which so
transformed her without drawing a line that
could be called untrue. Thus thinking, she
stood for a while, grave and puzzled. But
then the humour struck her, as it struck
her House always in great things and in
small ; it seemed to her most ludicrous that
the pictures should all be resting here in
Giraldo's house, while the Princes who
had commanded portraits of her had re-
ceived nothing but distorted parodies of her
face, to the end that they might be dis-
gusted and, abandoning the alliance they
had projected, leave her still at Strelsau, to
be painted times out of number and most
fruitlessly by this mad painter. And these
thoughts gaining the mastery over the
others, in spite of the sad plight of unhappy
Signor Giraldo, her lips curved into a bow,
her eyes gleamed in dancing merriment,
and a moment later she broke into a glad
gleeful laugh, that rose and rippled, and fell
to soft delighted murmurings. As she
The Device of Giraldo the Painter. 189
looked again at the picture that was like her
and also like a devil, her mirth grew and
grew at the ingenuity of the work and the
mocking devilry so cunningly made out of
her face. Small wonder was it to her now
that the embassies had not come.
The Princess Osra thus stood laughing,
and presently Signor Giraldo looked up.
When he had listened and looked for a few
moments, his wild mood caught the infec-
tion from her, so that, springing to his feet,
he also began to laugh loudly, like a man
who cannot restrain his amusement, but is
carried away by it beyond all bounds and
restraints. Thus Giraldo laughed loudly,
long, and fiercely ; for there was madness
in his laugh. And the Princess heard the
madness ; even while she still laughed, her
eyes opened in wonder ; alarm came on her
face, her merry laugh quivered, trembled,
choked in her throat, and at last died away
into dumbness ; yet her lips hung apart
frozen in the shape of laughter, while no
laughter came. But as her laugh thus
ended in mute horror, his grew louder yet
and wilder, and its peal rang through the
room, as he gasped between his spasms of
horrid mirth, " You, you, you ! " and pointed
at the picture which he had touched to devil-
190 The Heart of Princess Osra*
ishness. But she shrank away, and stood
crouched against the wall ; for she knew
now that he was mad, but did not know to
what his fury might next lead him. Then
he caught up a knife that lay on the sill of
the window, and, now smiling as though in
grim quiet amusement, strode across to the
row of pictures, and reached up to them,
knife in hand. But Osra suddenly sprang
forward, crying :
" Do not hurt them."
" These ? " he asked, turning to her with
a sneer. " These? I'll destroy them all,
for they are no longer beautiful to me, but
that one only is beautiful, because it is
true." And he wrenched his arm away
from the detaining hand she had laid upon
it. Falling back in terror, she watched him
cutting and slashing each of the pictures,
until the face was utterly destroyed. And
she feared that when he had finished with
the pictures, he would turn upon her ; there-
fore she flung herself on the couch, hiding
her face for fear of some horrible fate ;
she murmured low to herself, " Not my
face, O God, not my face ! " and she pressed
her face down into the cushions of the
couch, while he, muttering and grumbling
to himself, cut the pictures into strips and
The Device of Giraldo the Painter* 191
ribbons, and strewed the fragments at his
feet on the floor. This done, he turned to
the devil's face that he loved, and poured out
to it, as though it had been a cruel idol he
worshipped, a flood of wild passionate re-
proachful words, that Osra shivered to hear,
and the purport of which she dared tell
none, though for all her prayers she could
not herself forget one of them.
At last he came to her again, and plucked
her roughly and rudely from the couch
where she lay, and dragged her behind him
back to the door again and through it ; and
they stood together in front of the last pic-
ture, whose paint was still wet from his
hand. The painted face smiled down on
the trembling pale girl with its smile of
careless serene dignity, so that now even
to herself it seemed hardly to be her pic-
ture. For it was the true presentment of
a King's daughter, and she no better than
a helpless frightened girl. It seemed to
reproach her ; and suddenly she drew herself
to her height, and turned on Giraldo, say-
ing : "You shall not touch it."
She stept forward, so that she stood be-
tween him and the picture, raising her hand,
and forbidding him to approach it with his
knife. And now the picture seemed more
192 The Heart of Princess Osra*
to be hers, although while it smiled she
But at this moment there came through
the window that opened on the street the
clatter of horses' hoofs. At the sound
Giraldo arrested the motion that he had
already made to fling himself on the Prin-
cess ; whether to kill her, or only to thrust
her away from in front of the picture she
did not know. Running to the window, he
looked out, and called in seeming glee : " It
is the King come to see my pictures ! "
And he looked proud and happy. Going
to the door of the room, he flung it open,
and stood there waiting for the King and
the gentlemen who attended the King.
They were not long in coming, for Rudolf
was full of anger, impatience, and curiosity,
and ran swiftly up the staircase. His gen-
tlemen pressed into the room behind him,
and Giraldo drew back, keeping his face to
the King and bowing again and again. But
the King and the rest saw the knife in his
hand ; and ragged strips of painted canvas
hung here and there on his clothes, while
the Princess, pale and proud, stood guard-
ing the picture on the easel. The King, in
spite of his wonder, was not turned from
the purpose which had brought him to the
The Device of Giraldo the Painter. 193
painter's house, but with a quick step
darted up to Giraldo and thrust the letter
of the Marquis de Merosailles into his hand,
bidding him in a sharp peremptory tone to
read it and give what explanation he could
of the contents. Giraldo fell to reading it,
while the King turned to his sister in order
to ask her why she seemed agitated, and
stood so obstinately in front of her own
picture ; but at that instant one of the gen-
tlemen, whose name was Ladislas, gave a cry
of surprise ; for he had looked through the
door into the inner room, and seen the
havoc and destruction that Giraldo had
made, and also the strange and terrible
picture which alone had escaped the knife.
The King, wondering, followed Ladislas to
the threshold of the inner room and passed
it, while his gentlemen, full of curiosity,
crowded close on his heels after him.
The Princess Osra, thinking herself safe,
found her anger and terror pass away as
her mirth had passed before. Now she felt
in her heart that pity which borders on
tenderness, and which she could never re-
fuse to a man who loved her, let the folly
of his love and of the extravagances into
which it drove him be as great as it would.
Turning towards Giraldo, she saw him fret-
194 The Heart of Princess Osra*
ting his puckered brow with his hand, and
vainly seeking to compel his disordered
brain to understand M. de Merosailles' let-
ter. So she was very sorry for him, and,
knowing the sudden hot temper to which the
careless King was subject, she glided swiftly
across to the painter, and whispered: " Es-
cape and hide. Hide for a few days. He
will be furious now, but he will soon for-
et. Don't wait now, but escape, signor.
ome harm will happen to you here ; " and
in her eager pleading with him she laid
her hand on his arm, and looked up in his
face with imploring eyes. But he looked
at her with dazed vacant stare, muttering,
" I cannot read the letter ; " then a wistful
smile came on his face, and he thrust the
letter towards her, saying: "Madame, will
you read it for me ? " And at that moment
they heard the King swear an angry oath ;
for he had seen the mad picture of his
" No, no, not now," whispered Osra, be-
seeching Giraldo. " Not now, signor.
Listen, the King is angry ! Escape now,
and we will read the letter afterwards."
She was as earnest as though she had
loved him and were praying him to save
himself for the sake of her love.
The Device of Giraldo the Painter* 195
Giraldo looked into her softened eyes ;
suddenly giving a little cry, as if a great
joy had come to him unexpectedly and
contrary to all likelihood, he dropped M. de
Merosailles' letter, and sprang to where his
brushes lay on the floor ; seizing them and
his palette, he gave another swift glance at
the Princess, and then, turning to the pic-
ture, began to paint with marvellous dexter-
ity and deftness and with the sudden confi-
dence of a man inspired to the work. As
he worked, his brow grew smoother, the
tension of his strained face relaxed, happi-
ness dawned in his eyes, and a smile broke
on his lips ; and Osra watched him with a
tender sorrowful gaze. Still he painted, and
he was painting when the King burst in
from the other room in a great rage,
carrying his sword drawn in his hand ; for
he had sworn by Our Lady and St. Peter to
kill the rogue who had done the Princess
such wrong and so slandered her beauty.
And his gentlemen came in with him, all
very ready to see Giraldo killed, but each
eager that the King should leave the task
to him. Yet when they entered and saw
Giraldo painting as though he were rapt by
some ecstasy and had forgotten all that had
passed, nay, even their very presence, they
196 The Heart of Princess Osra.
paused in unwilling and constrained hesita-
tion. Osra raised her hand to bid them
stay still where they were, and not interfere
with Giraldo's painting. For now she de-
sired above all things on earth that he
should be left to finish his task. For he
thought that he had read more than pity
and more than tenderness in Osra's eyes ;
he had seemed to see love there, and thus
he had cried out in joy, and thus he was
now painting as never had even he, for all
his skill, painted before. His unerring
hand, moving lightly to and fro, imparted
the sweetness of his delusive vision to the
canvas, so that the eyes of the portrait
glowed with wonderful and beautiful love
and gentleness. Presently Giraldo began
to sing very softly to himself a sweet happy
old song, that peasants sang to peasant
girls in the fields outside his native Verona
on summer evenings. His head was thrown
back in triumph and exultation as he sang
and worked, tasting the luxury of love, and
glorying in the tribute that his genius paid
to her whom he loved. Thus came a mo-
ment of great joy to the soul of Giraldo
the painter ; for a man's love and a man's
work are, when they seem to prosper, of all
things the sweetest, and their union in one
his life's consummation.
The Device of Giraldo the Painter. 197
It was done. He laid down the brush,
and drew back a step, looking at what he
had done. The Princess came softly and
slowly, as though attracted against her will,
and she stood by him ; for she saw that this
picture was now, beyond all compare, the
most perfect and beautiful of all that he or
any other man had painted of her ; and she
loved him for thus glorifying her. But, be-
fore many moments had gone by, a sudden
start and shiver ran through Giraldo's
body. The spell of his entranced ecstasy
broke ; his eyes fell from the masterpiece
that he had made, and wandered to those
who stood about him to the gentlemen
who did not know whether to wonder or to
laugh, to the angry face of the King and
the naked sword in his hand, at last to
Osra, whose eyes were still on the picture.
His exultation vanished, and with it went,
as it seemed to them, his madness. Reason
dawned for a moment in his eyes, but was
quenched in an instant by shame and de-
spair. For he knew that all there had seen
that other picture and knew now what he
had done ; and suddenly with a stifled cry
he flung himself full length on the floor at
" Let us wait," said she gently. " He
will be himself again soon."
198 The Heart of Princess Osra*
But the King was too angry to listen.
" He has made us fools before half
Europe," he cried angrily, " and he shall
not live to talk of it. And you have you
seen the picture yonder?"
"Yes, I have seen it," said she. " But he
does not now think that picture like me, but
this one." And she turned to the gentle-
men, and desired them to raise Giraldo and
lay him on a couch, and they obeyed. Then
she knelt by his head ; and, after a while he
opened his eyes, seeming sound of sense in
everything except that he believed she
loved him, so that he began to whisper to
her as lovers whisper to their loves, very
tenderly and low. And the King, with
his gentlemen, stood a little way off. But
the Princess said nothing to Giraldo, neither
refusing his love, nor yet saying what was
false ; yet she suffered him to talk to her,
and to reach up his hand and gently touch
a lock of hair that strayed on her forehead.
And he, sighing in utter happiness and con-
tentment, closed his eyes again, and lay
back very quietly on the couch.
" Let us go," said she rising. " I will
send a physician." And she bade one of
the gentlemen lock the inner room, and give
her the key, and she and the King and
The Device of Giraldo the Painter* 199
they all then departed, and sent his ser-
vants to tend Giraldo ; and Osra caused the
King's physician also to be summoned.
But Giraldo did no more than linger some
few days alive ; for the most of them he
was in a high fever, his brain being wild ;
and he raved about the Princess, sometimes
railing at her, sometimes praising her ; yet
once or twice he awoke, calm and happy as
he had been when she knelt by him, and
having for his only delusion the thought
that she still knelt there and was breathing
words of love into his ear. And in this last
merciful error, in respect of which the
physicians humoured him, one day a week
later, he passed away and was at peace.
Then the Princess came, attended by one
gentleman in whom she placed confidence,
and she destroyed the evil picture that
Giraldo had painted, and having caused a
fire to be made, burnt up the pieces of it, and
all the ruins of the pictures that Giraldo had
destroyed. But that on which he had last
worked so happily, and with such a triumph
of art, she carried with her to the palace ;
and presently she caused copies to be made
of it, and sent one to each of the Princes by
whom Giraldo had been commanded to
paint her picture, and with it the money he
The Heart of Princess Osra*
had received, the whole of which was found
untouched in a cabinet in his house. But
the picture itself she hung in her own
chamber, and would often look at it, feel-
ing great sorrow for the fate of Giraldo the
Yet King Rudolf could not be prevailed
upon to pity the young man, saying that for
his part he should have to be mad before
the love of a woman should drive him mad ;
and he cursed Giraldo for an insolent knave,
declaring that he did well to die of his own
accord. And because M. de Merosailles
had gallantly defended his sister's beauty
in three duels, he sent him by the hand of
a high officer his Order of the Red Rose,
which M. de Mdrosailles wore with great
pride at the Court of Versailles.
But when the copies of the last picture
reached the Courts to which they were ad-
dressed, together with the money and a
brief history of Giraldo's mad doings, the
Princes turned their thoughts again to the
matter of the alliance, and several embas-
sies set out for Strelsau ; so that Princess
Osra said, with a smile that was half-sad,
half-amused, and very whimsical :
" I am much troubled by reason of the
loss of Signer Giraldo my painter."
The Indifference of the Miller of Hofbati*
THERE is a swift little river running by
the village of Hofbau, and on the river is a
mill, kept in the days of King Rudolf III.
by a sturdy fellow who lived there all
alone ; the King knew him, having alighted
at his house for a draught of beer as he
rode hunting, and it was of him the King
spoke when he said to the Queen, "There
is, I believe, but one man in the country
whom Osra could not move, and he is
the Miller of Hofbau." But although he
addressed the Queen, it was his sister at
whom he aimed his speech. The Princess
herself was sitting by, and when she heard
the King she said :
" In truth I do not desire to move any
man. What but trouble comes of it? Yet
who is this miller ?"
The King told her where the miller might
be found, and he added: "If you convert
202 The Heart of Princess Osra.
him to the love of women you shall have
the finest bracelet in Strelsau."
" There is nothing, sire, so remote from
my thoughts or desires as to convert your
miller," said Osra scornfully.
In this, at the moment, she spoke truth-
fully ; but being left alone for some days
at the Castle of Zenda, which is but a few
miles from Hofbau, she found the time
hang very heavy on her hands ; indeed she
did not know what to do with herself for
weariness ; and for this reason, and none
other at all, one day she ordered her horse
and rode off with a single groom into the
forest. Coming, as the morning went on, to
a wide road, she asked the groom where it
led. " To Hofbau, madame," he answered.
" It is not more than a mile further on."
Osra waited a few moments, then she
said : " I will ride on and see the village, for
I' have been told that it is pretty. Wait
here till I return," and she rode on, smiling
a little, and with a delicate tint of colour in
Before long she saw the river and the
mill on the river ; and, coming to the mill,
she saw the miller sitting before his door,
smoking a long pipe. She called out to
him, asking him to sell her a glass of milk.
The Indifference of the Miller of Hofbau* 203
" You can have it for the asking," said
the miller. He was a good-looking fair fel-
low, and wore a scarlet cap. " There is a
pail of it just inside the door behind me."
Yet he did not rise, but lay there, lolling
luxuriously in the sun. For he did not
know Osra, never having been to Strelsau
in his life, and to Zenda three or four times
only, and that when the Princess was not
there. Moreover though this, as must be
allowed, is not to the purpose he had
sworn never again to go so far afield.
Being answered in this manner, and at
the same time desiring the milk, the Prin-
cess had no choice but to dismount.
This she did, and passed by the miller,
pausing a moment to look at him with bright
curious eyes, that flashed from under the
brim of her wide-rimmed feathered hat ; but
the miller blinked lazily up at the sun and
took no heed of her.
Osra passed on, found the pail, poured
out a cup of milk, and drank it. Then, re-
filling the cup, she carried it to the miller.
" Will you not have some ? " said she
with a smile.
" I was too lazy to get it," said the
miller ; and he held out his hand, but did
not otherwise change his position.
204 The Heart of Princess Osra.
Osra's brow puckered and her cheek
flushed as she bent down, holding the cup
of milk so that the miller could reach it.
He took and drained it, gave it back to her,
and put his pipe in his mouth again. Osra
sat down by him and watched him. He
puffed and blinked away, never so much as
looking at her.
" What have you for dinner?" asked
11 A piece of cold pie," said he. " There's
enough for two, if you're hungry."
" Would you not like it better hot ?"
" Oh, aye ; but I cannot weary myself
with heating it."
"Til heat it," said the Princess; and,
rising, she went into the house, and made
up the fire, which was almost burnt out ;
then she heated the pie, and set the room
in order, and laid the table, and drew a
large jug of beer from the cask. Next she
placed an arm-chair ready for the miller,
and put the jug by it ; then she filled the
pipe from the bowl of tobacco and set a
cushion in the chair. All this while she
hummed a tune, and from time to time
smiled gayly. Lastly, she arranged a chair
by the elbow of the miller's chair ; then she
went out and told him that his dinner was
HE TOOK IT AND DRAINED IT." Page 204.
The Indifference of the Miller of Hoflbau. 205
ready ; and he stumbled to his feet with a
sigh of laziness, and walked before her into
" May I come ? " cried she.
" Aye, there is enough for two," said the
Miller of Hofbau without looking round.
So she followed him in. He sank into the
arm-chair and sat there, for a moment sur-
veying the room which was so neat, and
the table so daintily laid, and the pie so
steaming hot. And he sighed, saying :
" It was like this before poor mother
died." And he fell to on a great portion
of pie with which Osra piled his plate.
When he had finished eating which
thing did not happen for some time she
held the jug while he took a long draught ;
then she brought a coal in the tongs and
held it while he lit his pipe from it ; then
she sat down by him. For several moments
he puffed, and then at last he turned his
head and looked at Princess Osra; she
drooped her long lashes and cast down her
eyes ; next she lifted her eyes and glanced
for an instant at the miller ; and, finally, she
dropped her eyes again and murmured
shyly: "What is it, sir? Why do you
look at me ?"
"You seem to be a handy wench," ob-
206 The Heart of Princess Osra*
served the miller. " The pie was steaming
hot and yet not burnt, the beer was well
frothed but not shaken nor thickened, and
the pipe draws well. Where does your
" He is dead, sir," said Princess Osra very
"And your mother?" pursued the miller.
" She also is dead."
" There is small harm in that," said the
miller thoughtfully ; and Osra turned away
her head to hide her smile.
" Are you not very lonely, living here
all by yourself?" she asked a moment
" Indeed I have to do everything for
myself," said the miller sadly.
" And there is nobody to to care for
" No, nor to look after my comfort," said
the miller. " Have you any kindred ?"
" I have two brothers, sir ; but they are
married now, and have no need of me."
The miller laid down his pipe and, set-
ting his elbow on the table, faced Princess
" H'm ! " said he. " And is it likely you
will ride this way again ? "
" I may chance to do so," said Osra,
The Indifference of the Miller of Hofbau. 207
and now there was a glance of malicious
triumph in her eyes ; she was thinking
already how the bracelet would look on her
" Ah ! " said the miller. And after a
pause he added : " If you do, come half an
hour before dinner, and you can lend a
hand in making it ready. Where did you
get those fine clothes ? "
" My mistress gave them to me," an-
swered Osra. " She has cast them off."
"And that horse you rode?"
" It is my master's ; I have it to ride
when I do my mistress's errands."
" Will your master and mistress do any-
thing for you if you leave your service ?"
" I have been promised a present if
said Osra, and she paused in apparent
" Aye," said the miller, nodding saga-
ciously, as he rose slowly from the arm-
chair. " Will you be this way again in a
week or so ? " he asked.
" I think it is very likely," answered
the Princess Osra.
"Then look in," said the miller. " About
half an hour before dinner." He nodded
his head again very significantly at Osra,
and, turning away, went to his work, as a
208 The Heart of Princess Osra*
man goes who would far rather sit still in
the sun. But just as he reached the door
he turned his head and asked : " Are you
" I am strong enough, I think," said she.
" A sack of flour is a heavy thing for a
man to lift by himself," remarked the
miller, and with that he passed through the
door and left her alone.
Then she cleared the table, put the pie
or what was left in the larder, set the
room in order, refilled the pipe, stood the
jug handy by the cask, and, with a look of
great satisfaction on her face, tripped out
to where her horse was, mounted, and rode
The next week and the interval had
seemed long to her, and no less long to the
Miller of Hofbau she came again, and so
the week after ; and in the week following
that she came twice ; and on the second of
these two days, after dinner, the miller did
not go off to his sacks, but he followed her
out of the house, pipe in hand, when she
went to mount her horse, and as she was
about to mount, he said :
"Indeed you're a handy wench."
" You say much of my hands, but noth-
ing of my face," remarked Princess Osra.
The Indifference of the Miller of Hofbau, 209
" Of your face ? " repeated the miller in
some surprise. " What should I say of
your face ? "
" Well, is it not a comely face ? " said
Osra, turning towards him that he might
be better able to answer her question.
The miller regarded her for some min-
utes, then a slow smile spread on his lips.
"Oh, aye, it is well enough," said he.
Then he laid a floury finger on her arm as
he continued : " If you come next week
why, it is but half a mile to church ! I'll
have the cart ready and bid the priest be
there. What's your name ?" For he had
not hitherto asked Osra's name.
" Rosa Schwartz," said she, and her face
was all alight with triumph and amuse-
" Yes, I shall be very comfortable with
you," said the miller. " We will be at the
church an hour before noon, so that there
may be time afterwards for the preparation
" That will be on Thursday in next
week ? " asked Osra.
" Aye, on Thursday," said the miller, and
he turned on his heel. But in a minute he
turned again, saying : " Give me a kiss,
then, since we are to be man and wife,"
210 The Heart of Princess Osra*
and he came slowly towards her, holding
his arms open.
" Nay, the kiss will wait till Thursday.
Maybe there will be less flour on your face
then." And with a laugh she dived under
his outstretched arms and made her escape.
The day being warm, the miller did not
put himself out by pursuing her, but stood
where he was, with a broad comfortable
smile on his lips ; and so he watched her
Now, as she rode, the Princess was much
occupied in thinking of the Miller of Hof-
bau. Elated and triumphant as she was at
having won from him a promise of marriage,
she was yet somewhat vexed that he had
not shown a more passionate affection, and
this thought clouded her brow for full half
an hour. But then her face cleared. "Still
waters run deep," she said to herself. " He
is not like these Court gallants, who have
learnt to make love as soon as they learn
to walk, and cannot talk to a woman with-
out bowing and grimacing and sighing at
every word. The miller has a deep nature,
and surely I have won his heart, or he
would not take me for his wife. Poor
miller ! I pray that he may not grieve very
bitterly when I make the truth known to
The Indifference of the Miller of Hofbau* 211
him!" And then, at the thought of the
grief of the miller, her face was again
clouded ; but it again cleared when she con-
sidered of the great triumph that she had
won, and how she would enjoy a victory over
the King, and would have the finest bracelet
in all Strelsau as a gift from him. Thus
she arrived at the Castle in the height of
merriment and exultation.
It chanced that the King came to Zenda
that night, to spend a week hunting the
boar in the forest ; and when Osra, all
blushing and laughing, told him of her suc-
cess with the Miller of Hofbau he was
greatly amused, and swore that no such
girl ever lived, and applauded her, renew-
ing his promise of the bracelet ; and he de-
clared that he would himself ride with her
to Hofbau on the wedding-day, and see how
the poor miller bore his disappointment.
"Indeed I do not see how you are going
to excuse yourself to him/' he laughed.
" A purse of five hundred crowns must
do that ofrice for me," said she.
" What, will crowns patch a broken
" His broken heart must heal itself, as
men's broken hearts do, brother ! "
" In truth, sister, I have known them
2i2 The Heart of Princess Osra,
cure themselves. Let us hope it may be so
with the Miller of Hofbau."
" At the worst I have revenged the
wrongs of women on him. It is unendur-
able that any man should scorn us, be he
king or miller."
" It is indeed very proper that he should
suffer great pangs," said the King, " in
spite of his plaster of crowns. I shall love
to see the stolid fellow sighing and moaning
like a lovesick courtier."
So they agreed to ride together to the
miller's at Hofbau on the day appointed for
the wedding, and both of them waited with
impatience for it. But, with the bad luck
that pursues mortals (even though they be
princes) in this poor world, it happened
that early in the morning of the Thursday
a great officer came riding post-haste from
Strelsau to take the King's commands on
high matters of State ; and, although Ru-
dolf was sorely put out of temper by this
untoward interruption, yet he had no alter-
native but to transact the business before he
rode to the miller's at Hofbau. So he sat
fretting and fuming, while long papers were
readfto him, and the Princess walked up
and down the length of the drawbridge,
fretting also ; for before the King could
The Indifference of the Miller of Hoflbau. 213
escape from his affairs, the hour of the wed-
ding was already come, and doubtless the
Miller of Hofbau was waiting with the priest
in the church. Indeed it was one o'clock
or more before Osra and the King set out
from Zenda, and they had then a ride of an
hour and a half ; and all this when Osra
should have been at the miller's at eleven
" Poor man, he will be half mad with
waiting and with anxiety for me ! " cried
Osra. " I must give him another hundred
crowns on account of it." And she added,
after a pause, " I pray he may not take it
too much to heart, Rudolf."
" We must try to prevent him doing him-
self any mischief in his despair," smiled the
" Indeed it is a serious matter," pouted
the Princess, who thought the King's smile
out of place.
" It was not so when you began it," said
her brother ; and Osra was silent.
Then about half-past two they came in
sight of the mill. Now the King dismounted,
while they were still several hundred yards
away, and tied his horse to a tree in a clump
by the wayside ; and when they came near
to the mill he made a circuit and approached
214 The Heart of Princess Osra,
from the side, and, creeping along to the
house, hid himself behind a large water-butt,
which stood just under the window ; from
that point he could hear what passed inside
the house, and could see if he stood erect.
But Osra rode up to the front of the mill, as
she had been accustomed, and, getting down
from her horse, walked up to the door. The
miller's cart stood in the yard of the mill,
but the horse was not in the shafts, and
neither the miller nor anybody else was to
be seen about ; and the door of the house
" He must be waiting at the church," said
she. " But I will look in and make sure.
Indeed I feel half afraid to meet him."
And her heart was beating rapidly and her
face was rather pale as she walked up to
the door ; for she feared what the miller
might do in the passion of his disappoint-
ment at learning who she was and that she
could not be his wife. " I hope*the six hun-
dred crowns will comfort him," she said, as
she laid her hand on the latch of the door ;
and she sighed, her heart being heavy for
the miller, and, maybe a little heavy also
for the guilt that lay on her conscience for
having deceived him.
Now when she lifted the latch and
ON EITHER SIDE
THE PRIEST OF THE VILLAGE AND THE MILLER OF
HOFBAU." Page 215.
The Indifference of the Miller of Hofbau. 215
opened the door, the sight that met her
eyes was this : The table was strewn with
the remains of a brave dinner ; two burnt-
out pipes lay beside the plates. A smaller
table was in front of the fire ; on it stood a
very large jug, entirely empty, but bearing
signs of having Jbeen full not so long ago ;
and on either side of it, each in an arm-
chair, sat the priest of the village and the
Miller of Hofbau ; both of them were sleep-
ing very contentedly, and snoring some-
what as they slept. The Princess, smitten
by remorse at the spectacle, said softly :
" Poor fellow, he grew weary of waiting,
and hungry, and was compelled to take his
dinner ; and, like the kind man he is, he has
entertained the priest, and kept him here, so
that no time should be lost when I arrived.
Indeed I am afraid the poor man loves me
very much. Well, miller, or lord, or prince
they are all the same. Heigh-ho ! Why
did I deceive him ?" And she walked up
to the miller's chair, leant over the back
of it, and lightly touched his red cap with
her fingers. He put up his hand and
brushed with it, as though he brushed away
a fly, but gave no other sign of awakening.
The King called softly from behind the
water-butt under the window :
2i6 The Heart of Princess Osra.
" Is he there, Osra ? Is he there ? "
" The poor man has fallen asleep in weari-
ness," she answered. " But the priest is
here, ready to marry us. Oh, Rudolf, I am
so sorry for what I have done ! "
" Girls are always mighty sorry, after it is
done," remarked the King. " Wake him up,
At this moment the Miller of Hofbau sat
up in his chair and gave a great sneeze ; and
by this sound the priest also was awakened.
Osra came forward and stood between
them. The miller looked at her, and tilted
his red cap forward in order that he might
scratch his head. Then he looked across
to the priest, and said :
" It is she, Father. She has come."
The priest rubbed his hands together,
and smiled uncomfortably.
" We waited two hours," said he, glancing
at the clock. " See, it is three o'clock now."
" I am sorry you waited so long," said
Osra, "but I could not come before. And
and now that I am come, I cannot "
But here she paused in great distress and
confusion, not knowing how to break her
sad tidings to the Miller of Hofbau.
The miller drew his legs up under his
chair, and regarded Osra with a grave air.
The Indifference of the Miller of Hof bau. 217
" You should have been here at eleven,"
said he. " I went to the church at eleven,
and the priest was there, and my cousin
Hans to act as my groom, and my cousin
Gertrude to be your maid. There we
waited hard on two hours. But you did not
" I am very sorry, "pleaded Princess Osra.
The King laughed low to himself behind the
water-butt, being much amused at her dis-
tress and her humility.
" And now that you are come," pursued
the miller, scratching his head again, " I do
not know what we are to do." He looked
again at the priest, seeking counsel.
At this the Princess Osra, thinking that
an opportunity had come, took the purse of
six hundred crowns from under her cloak,
and laid it on the table.
" What is this ? " said the miller, for the
first time showing some eagerness.
" They are for you," said Osra as she
watched him while he unfastened the purse.
Then he poured the crowns out on the table,
and counted them one by one, till he had
told all the six hundred. Then he raised
his hands above his head, let them fall again,
sighed slightly, and looked across at the
218 The Heart of Princess Osra*
" I warned you not to be in such a hurry,
friend miller," remarked the priest.
" I waited two hours," said the miller
plaintively, " and you know that she is a
handy wench, and very fond of me."
He began to gather up the crowns and
return them to the purse.
" I trust I am a handy wench," said Osra,
smiling, yet still very nervous, " and, in-
deed, I have a great regard for the miller,
" Nay, he does not mean you," inter-
rupted the priest.
"Six hundred," sighed the miller, "and
Gertrude has but two hundred ! Still she
is a handy wench and very sturdy. I doubt
if you could lift a sack by yourself, as she
can." And he looked doubtfully at Osra's
" I do not know why you talk of Ger-
trude," said the Princess petulantly. " What
is Gertrude to me ? "
"Why, I take it that she is nothing at
all to you," answered the priest, folding his
hands on his lap and smiling placidly.
" Still, for my part, I bade him wait a little
" I waited two hours," said the miller.
" And Gertrude urged me, saying that you
The Indifference of the Miller of Hofbau* 219
would not come, and that she would look
after me better than you, being one of the
family. And she said it was hard that
she should have no husband, while her own
cousin married a stranger. And since it
was all the same to me, provided I got a
handy and sturdy wench "
"What?" cried the Princess Osra ; and
the King was so interested that he rose up
from behind the water-butt, and, leaning his
elbows on the window-sill, looked in and
saw all that happened.
" It being," pursued the Miller of Hof-
bau, "all the same to me, so that I got
what I wanted, why, when you did not
" He married his cousin," said the priest.
A sudden roar of laughter came from
the window. All three turned round, but
the King ducked his head and crouched
again behind the water-butt before they
" Who was that ?" cried the priest.
" A lad that came to hold my horse," an-
swered Osra hastily, and then she turned
fiercely on the miller.
" And that," she said, " was all you
wanted ! I thought you loved me."
" Aye, I liked you very well," said the
220 The Heart of Princess Osra.
miller. " You are a handy " A stamp
of her foot drowned the rest. " But you
should have come in time," he went on.
" And this Gertrude is she pretty ? "
" Gertrude is well enough," said the mil-
ler. " But she has only two hundred
crowns." And he put the purse, now
full again, on the table with a resigned
" And you shall have no more," cried
Osra, snatching up her purse in great rage.
" And you and Gertrude may "
" What of Gertrude ? " came at this mo-
ment from the door of the room where the
sacks were. The Princess turned round
swift as the wind, and she saw in the door-
way a short and very broad girl, with a very
wide face and straggling hair ; the girl's
nose was very flat, and her eyes were small ;
but her great mouth smiled good-humour-
edly and, as the Princess looked, she let
slip to the ground a sack of flour that she
had been carrying on her sturdy back.
" Aye, Gertrude is well enough," said the
miller, looking at her contentedly. " She is
very strong and willing."
Then, while Gertrude stood wondering
and staring with wide eyes in the doorway,
The Indifference of the Miller of Hofbau. 221
the Princess swept up to the miller, and
leant over him, and cried :
" Look at my face, look at my face !
What manner of face is it ? "
" It is well enough," said the miller.
" But Gertrude is
There was a crash on the floor, and
the six hundred crowns rolled out of the
purse, and scattered, spinning and rolling
hither and thither all over the floor and
into every corner of the room. And Prin-
cess Osra cried : " Have you no eyes ? "
and then she turned away ; for her lip was
quivering, and she would not have the miller
see it. But she turned from the miller
only to face Gertrude his wife ; Gertrude's
small eyes brightened with sudden intelli-
" Ah, you're the other girl 1 " said Ger-
trude with much amusement. " And was
that your dowry ? It is large ! I am glad
you did not come in time. But see, I'll pick
it up for you. Nay, don't take on. I dare
say you'll find another husband."
She passed by Osra, patting her on the
shoulder kindly as she went, and then fell on
her knees and began to pick up the crowns,
crawling after them all over the floor, and
holding up her apron to receive the recov-
222 The Heart of Princess Osra*
ered treasure. And Princess Osra stood
looking at her.
" Aye, you'll find another husband,"
nodded the priest encouragingly.
"Aye, you'll find another husband," as-
sented the miller placidly. " And just as
one girl is pretty nearly as good as another
if she is handy and sturdy so one hus-
band is as good as another, if he can keep
a house over you."
Princess Osra said nothing. But Ger-
trude, having picked up the crowns, came
to her with a full apron, saying :
" Hold your lap, and I'll pour them in.
They'll get you a good husband."
Princess Osra suddenly bent and kissed
Gertrude's cheek, and she said gently :
" I hope you have got a good husband,
my dear ; but let him do some work for
himself. And keep the six hundred crowns
as a present from me, for he will value you
more with eight hundred than with two."
The eyes of all three were fixed on her
in wonder and almost in fear, for her tone
and manner were now different. Then she
turned to the miller, and she bit her lip
and dashed her hand across her eyes, and
she said :
" And you, miller, are the only sensible
The Indifference of the Miller of Hofbau. 223
man I have found in all the kingdom.
Therefore good luck and a good wife to
you." And she gave a little short laugh,
and turned and walked out of the cottage,
leaving them all spellbound in wonder.
But the miller rose from his chair and ran
to the door, and when he reached it the
King was just lifting Osra on to her horse ;
the miller knew the King, and stood there
with eyes wide and cheeks bulged in won-
der ; but he could gasp out no more than
"The King, the King!" before Rudolf and
Osra were far away. And they could,
none of them, neither the miller, nor Ger-
trude, nor the priest, tell what the matter
meant, until one day King Rudolf rode
again to the mill at Hofbau, and, having
sent for the priest, told the three enough of
the truth, saying that the affair was the out-
come of a jest at Court ; and he made each
of them a handsome present, and vowed
them to secrecy by their fealty and attach-
ment to his person and his honour.
" So she would not have married me,
anyhow ? " asked the miller.
"I think not, friend," answered Rudolf
with a laugh.
" Then we are but quits and all is well.
Gertrude, the jug, my lass ! "
224 The Heart of Princess Osra.
And so, indeed, it seemed to the King
that they were but quits, and so he said to
the Princess Osra. But he declared that
she had so far prevailed with the miller
as to make him desire marriage as an ex-
cellent and useful thing in itself, although
she had not persuaded him that it was of
great moment whom a man married. There-
fore he was very anxious to give her the
bracelet which he had promised, and more
than once prayed her to accept it. But
Osra saw the laugh that lurked in the King's
eye, and would not consent to have the
bracelet, and for a long while she did not
love to speak of the Miller of Hofbau.
Yet once, when the King on some occasion
cried out very impatiently that all men were
fools, she said :
" Sire, you forget the Miller of Hofbau."
And she blushed, and laughed, and turned
her eyes away.
One other thing she did which very
greatly puzzled Queen Margaret, and all
the ladies of the Court, and all the waiting-
women, and all the serving-maids, and, in
fine, every person high or low who saw or
heard of it, except the King only. For in
winter evenings she took her scissors and
her needle, and she cut strips of ribbon,
The Indifference of the Miller of Hoflbau. 225
each a foot long and a couple of inches
broad ; on each of them she embroidered
a motto or legend ; and she affixed the
ribbons bearing the legend to each and
every one of the mirrors in each of her
chambers at Strelsau, at Zenda, and at the
other royal residences. And her waiting-
women noticed that, whenever she had
looked in the mirror and smiled at her own
image or shewn other signs of pleasure in
it, she would then cast her eyes up to the
legend, and seem to read it, and blush a
little, and laugh a little, and sigh a little ;
the reason for which things they could by
no means understand.
For the legend was but this :
"Remember the Miller of Hofbau"
The Love of the Prince of Glottenbet g.
IT was the spring of the year when
Ludwig, Prince of Glottenberg, came court-
ing the Princess Osra ; for his father had
sought the most beautiful lady of a Royal
House in Europe, and had found none equal
to Osra. Therefore the Prince came to
Strelsau with a great retinue, and was
lodged in the White Palace, which stood on
the outskirts of the city, where the public
gardens now are (for the Palace itself was
sacked and burnt by the people in the ris-
ing of 1848). Here Ludwig stayed many
days, coming every day to the King's palace
to pay his respects to the King and Queen,
and to make his court to the Princess.
King Rudolf had received him with the
utmost friendship, and was, for reasons of
State then of great moment but now of
vanished interest, as eager for the match as
was the King of Glottenberg himself ; and
he grew very impatient with his sister when
The Love of the Prince of Glottenberg* 227
she hesitated to accept Ludwig's hand, al-
leging that she felt for him no more than a
kindly esteem, and, what was as much to
the purpose, that he felt no more for her.
For although the Prince possessed most
courteous and winning manners, and was
very accomplished both in learning and in
exercises, yet he was a grave and pensive
young man, rather stately than jovial, and
seemed in the Princess's eyes (accustomed
as they were to catch and check ardent
glances), to perform his wooing more as a
duty of his station than on the impulse of
any passion. Finding in herself also no
such sweet ashamed emotions as had before
now invaded her heart on account of lesser
men, she grew grave and troubled. At last
she said to the King :
" Brother, is this love ? For I had as lief
he were away as here, and when he is here
he kisses my hand as though it were a
statue's hand ; and and I feel as though it
were. They say you know what love is.
Is this love ? "
" There are many forms of love," smiled
the King. " This is such love as a Prince
and a Princess may most properly feel."
" I do not call it love at all," said Osra
with a pout.
228 The Heart of Princess Osra*
When Prince Ludwig came next day to
see her and told her with grave courtesy
that his pleasure lay in doing her will, she
broke out :
" I had rather it lay in watching my face,"
and then, ashamed, she turned away from
He seemed grieved and hurt at her
words ; it was with a sigh that he said :
" My life shall be spent in giving you joy."
She turned round on him with flushed
cheek and trembling lips :
"Yes, but I had rather it were spent in
getting joy from me."
He cast down his eyes a moment, and
then, taking her hand, kissed it. But she
drew it away sharply. So that afternoon
they parted, he back to his Palace, she to
her chamber, where she sat, asking again :
" Is this love ? " and crying : " He does not
know love," and pausing, now and again,
before her mirror, to ask her pictured
face why it would not unlock the door of
On another day she would be merry, or
feign merriment, rallying him on his sombre
air and formal compliments, professing that
for her part she soon grew weary of such
wooing, and loved to be easy and merry ;
The Love of the Prince of Glottenberg. 229
for thus she hoped to sting him, so that he
would either disclose more warmth or alto-
gether forsake his pursuit. But he offered
many apologies, blaming nature that had
made him grave, but assuring her of his
deep affection and respect.
" Affection and respect ! " murmured Osra
with a little toss of her head. " Oh, that I
had not been born a Princess ! " And yet,
though she did not love him, she thought
him a very noble gentleman, and trusted
to his honour and sincerity in everything.
Therefore, when he still persisted, and Ru-
dolf and the Queen urged her, telling her
(the King mockingly, the Queen with a
touch of sadness) that she must not look
to find in the world such love as romantic
girls dreamt of, at last she yielded ; she
told her brother that she would marry
Prince Ludwig ; yet for a little while she
would not have the news proclaimed. So
Rudolf went, alone and privately, to the
White Palace, and said to Ludwig :
" Cousin, you have won the fairest lady
in the world. Behold, her brother says
Prince Ludwig bowed low, and taking
the King's hand, pressed it, thanking him
for his help and approval, and expressing
230 The Heart of Princess Osra.
himself as most grateful for the boon of the
" Will you not come with me and find
her ? " cried the King with a merry look.
" I have urgent business now," answered
Ludwig. " Beg the Princess to forgive me.
This afternoon I will crave the honour of
waiting on her with my humble gratitude."
King Rudolf looked at him, a smile curl-
ing on his lips ; and he said, in one of his
gusts of impatience :
"By heaven ! is there another man in the
world who would talk about gratitude, and
business, and the afternoon, when Osra of
Strelsau sat waiting for him ? "
" I mean no discourtesy," protested Lud-
wig, taking the King's arm, and glancing at
him with most friendly eyes. " Indeed,
dear friend, I am rejoiced and honoured.
But this business of mine will not wait."
So the King, frowning and grumbling
and laughing, went back alone and told the
Princess that the happy wooer was most
grateful, and would come after his business
was transacted that afternoon. But Osra,
having given her hand, would admit no
fault in the man she had chosen, and
thanked the King for the message with
great dignity. Then the King came to her,
The Love of the Prince of Glottenberg;. 231
and, sitting down by her, stroked her hair,
saying softly :
"You have had many lovers, sister Osra,
and now comes a husband ! "
"Yes, now a husband," she murmured,
catching swiftly at his hand ; her voice was
half caught in a sudden sob.
" So goes the world our world," said the
King, knitting his brows and seeming to fall
for a moment into a sad reverie.
"I am frightened," she whispered.
" Should I be frightened if I loved him ? "
" I have been told so," said the King,
smiling again. " But the fear has a way
of being mastered then." And he drew
her to him, and gave her a hearty brother's
kiss, telling her to take courage. " You'll
thaw the fellow yet," said the King,
" though, I grant you, he is icy enough."
For the King himself had been by no means
what he called an icy man.
But Osra was not satisfied, and sought to
assuage the pain of her heart by adorning
herself most carefully for the Prince's com-
ing, hoping to fire him to love. For she
thought that if he loved she might, although
since he did not she could not. And surely
he did not, or all the tales of love were
false ! Thus she came to receive him very
232 The Heart of Princess Osra,
magnificently arrayed. There was a flush
on her cheek and an uncertain, expectant,
fearful look in her eyes ; thus she stood be-
fore him, as he fell on his knee and kissed
her hand. Then he rose and declared his
thanks, and promised his devotion ; but as
he spoke the flush faded and the light
died from her eyes ; and when at last he
drew near to her and offered to kiss her
cheek, her eyes were dead and her face
pale and cold as she suffered him to touch
it. He was content to touch it but once,
and seemed not to know how cold it
was ; and so, after more talk of his father's
pleasure and his pride, he took his leave,
promising to come again the next day.
She ran to the window when the door was
closed on him, and thence watched him
mount his horse and ride away slowly, with
his head bent and his eyes downcast ; yet
he was a noble gentleman, stately and
handsome, kind and true. The tears came
suddenly into her eyes and blurred her sight
as she leant watching from behind the
hanging curtains of the window. Though
she dashed them away angrily, they came
again, and ran down her pale cold cheeks,
mourning the golden vision that seemed
gone without fulfilment.
The Love of the Prince of Gtottenberg. 233
That evening there came a gentleman
from the Prince of Glottenberg, carrying
most humble excuses from his master, who
(so he said) was prevented from waiting on
the Princess the next day by a certain very
urgent affair which took him from Strelsau,
and would keep him absent from the city
all day long ; and the gentleman delivered
to Osra a letter from the Prince, full of
graceful and profound apologies, and plead-
ing an engagement that his honour would
not let him break ; for nothing short of
that, said he, should have kept him from
her side. There followed some lover's
phrases, scantily worded and frigid in an
assumed passion. But Osra, smiling gra-
ciously, sent back a message, readily accept-
ing all that the Prince urged in excuse.
And she told what had passed to the
King, with her head high in the air and
a careless haughtiness, so that even the
King did not rally her, nor yet venture to
comfort her, but urged her to spend the
day in riding with the Queen and him ;
for they were setting out for Zenda, where
the King was to hunt in the forest, and she
could ride some part of the way with them,
and return in the evening. And she, wish-
ing that she had sent first to the Prince to
234 The Heart of Princess Osra,
bid him not come, agreed to go with her
brother ; it was better far to go than to wait
at home for a lover who would not come.
Thus the next morning they rode out, the
King and Queen with their retinue, the
Princess attended by one of her Guard,
named Christian Hantz, who was greatly
attached to her and most jealous in praise
and admiration of her. This fellow had
taken it on himself to be very angry with
Prince Ludwig's coldness, but dared say
nothing of it ; yet, impelled by his anger,
he had set himself to watch the Prince very
closely ; and thus he had, as he conceived,
discovered something which brought a twin-
kle into his eye and a triumphant smile to
his lips as he rode behind the Princess.
Some fifteen miles she accompanied her
brother, and then, turning with Christian,
took another way back to the city. Alone
she rode, her mind full of sad thoughts ;
while Christian, behind, still wore his mali-
cious smile. But presently, although she
had not commanded him, he quickened his
pace and came up to her side, relying for
excuse on the favour which she always
"Well, Christian," said she, "have you
something to say to me?"
The Love of the Prince of Glottenberg, 235
For answer he pointed to a small house
standing among the trees, some way from
the road, and he said :
" If I were Ludwigand not Christian, yet
I would be here where Christian is, and not
there where Ludwig is," and he pointed
still at the house.
She faced round in anger at his daring
to speak to her of the Prince, but he was a
bold fellow and would not be silenced
now that he had begun to speak ; he knew
also that she would bear much from him.
So he leant over towards her, saying :
" By your bounty, madame, I have money,
and he who has money can get knowledge.
So I know that the Prince is there. For
fifty crowns I gained a servant of his, and
he told me."
" I do not know why you should spy on
the Prince," said Osra, " and I do not care
to know where the Prince is ; " and she
touched her horse with the spur and can-
tered forward fast, leaving the little house
behind. But Christian persisted, partly in
a foolish grudge against any man who
should win what was above his reach, partly
in an honest anger that she, whom he wor-
shipped, should be treated lightly by an-
other ; and he forced her to hear what he
236 The Heart of Princess Osra*
had learnt from the gossip of the Prince's
groom, telling it to her in hints and half-
spoken sentences, yet so plainly that she
could not miss the gist of it.
She rode the faster towards Strelsau, at
first answering nothing; but at last she turned
on him fiercely, saying that he told a lie, and
that she knew it was a lie, since she knew
where the Prince was, and what business had
taken him away ; and she commanded Chris-
tian to be silent and to speak neither to her
nor to any one else of his false suspicions ;
and she bade him very harshly to fall back
and ride behind her again, which he did,
sullen yet satisfied. For he knew that his
arrow had gone home. On she rode, with
her cheeks aflame and her heart beating,
until she came to Strelsau ; having arrived
at the Palace, she ran to her own bedroom
and flung herself on the bed.
Here for an hour she lay ; then, it being
about six o'clock, she sat up, pushing her
disordered hair back from her hot aching
brow. An agony of humiliation had come
upon her, and a fury of resentment against
the Prince, whose coldness seemed now to
need no more explanation. Yet she could
hardly believe what she had been told of him,
for though she had not loved him, she had
The Love of the Prince of Glottenberg* 237
accorded to him her full trust. Rising, she
paced in pain about the room. She could
not rest ; she cried out in longing that her
brother were there, to aid her and find out
the truth for her. But he was away, and
she had none to whom she could turn. So
she strove to master her anger and endure
her suspense till the next day, but they were
too strong for her, and she cried :
" I will go myself, I cannot sleep till I
know. But I cannot go alone. Who will go
with me ? " But she knew of none, for she
would not take Christian with her, and she
shrank from speaking of the matter to any
gentlemen of the Court. Yet she must
know. At last she sprang from the chair
into which she had sunk despondent, ex-
" He is a gentleman and my friend. He
will go with me." And she sent hastily for
the Bishop of Modenstein, who was then in
Strelsau, bidding him come dressed for rid-
ing, with a sword, and on the best horse in
his stables. The Bishop came equipped as
she bade him, and in very great wonder.
But when she told what she wanted, and
what Christian had made known to her, he
grew grave, saying that they must wait and
consult the King, when he returned.
238 The Heart of Princess Osra.
" I will not wait an hour," she cried. " I
cannot wait an hour."
" Then I will ride and bring you word.
You must not go," he urged.
" Nay, if I go alone I will go," said she.
" Yes, I will go, and myself fling his false-
ness in his teeth."
Finding her thus resolved, the Bishop
knew that he could not turn her ; so, leav-
ing her to prepare herself, he caught Chris-
tian Hantz, and charged him to bring their
horses to the most private gate of the palace,
which opened on a little by-street. Here
Christian waited for them with the horses,
and they came presently, the Bishop wear-
ing a great slouched hat, and swaggering
like a roystering trooper, while Osra was
closely veiled. The Bishop again imposed
secrecy on Christian, and then, they both
being mounted, said to Osra : " If you will
then, madame, come," and thus they rode
secretly out of the city, about seven in the
evening, the gate-wardens opening the gate
at sight of the Royal Arms on Osra's ring,
which she gave to the Bishop in order that
he might shew it.
In silence they rode a long way, going
at a great speed ; Osra's face was set and
rigid, for she felt now no shame at herself
The Love of the Prince of Glottenberg* 239
for going, nor any fear of what she might
find, but the injury to her pride swallowed
every other feeling ; and at last she said,
in short sharp words, to the Bishop of
Modenstein, having suddenly thrown the
veil back from her face :
" He shall not live if it prove true."
The Bishop shook his head. His pro-
fession was peace ; yet his blood also was
hot against the man who had put a slight
on Princess Osra.
" The King must know of it," he said.
" The King ! The King is not here to-
night," said Osra ; and she pricked her
horse and set him at a gallop. The moon,
breaking suddenly in brightness from be-
hind a cloud, shewed the Bishop her face.
Then she put out her hand and caught
him by the arm, whispering : " Are you my
" Yes, madame," said he. She knew well
that he was her friend.
" Kill him for me, then ; kill him for me."
" I cannot kill him," said the Bishop. " I
pray God it may prove untrue."
" You are not my friend, if you will not
kill him," said Osra ; and she turned her
face away and rode yet more quickly.
At last they came in sight of the little
240 The Heart of Princess Osra.
house standing back from the road ; and
there was a light in one of the upper win-
dows. The Bishop heard a short gasp
break from Osra's lips, as she pointed with
her whip to the window. Now his own
breath came quick and fast ; he prayed to
God that he might remember his sacred
character and his vows, and not be led into
great and deadly sin, at the bidding of that
proud and bitter face ; and he clenched his
left hand and struck his brow with it.
Thus then they came to the gate of the
avenue of trees that led to the house. Here,
having dismounted and tied their horses to
the gate-post, they stood for an instant, and
Osra again veiled her face.
" Let me go alone, madame," he implored.
" Give me your sword, and I will go
alone," she answered.
" Here, then, is the path," said the Bishop,
and he led the way by the moonlight that
broke fitfully here and there through the
" He swore that all his life should be
mine," she whispered. " Yet I knew that
he did not love me."
The Bishop made her no answer ; she
looked for none and did not know that she
spoke the bitterness of her heart in words
The Love of the Prince of Glottenberg* 241
which he could hear. He bowed his head
and prayed again for her and for himself ;
for he had found his hand gripping the hilt
of his sword. Thus, side by side now, they
came to the door of the house, and saw a
gentleman standing in front of the door,
still but watchful. Osra knew that he was
the Prince's Chamberlain.
When the Chamberlain saw them, he
started violently and clapped a hand to his
sword ; but Osra flung her veil on to the
ground, and the Bishop gripped his arm as
with a vice. The Chamberlain looked at
Osra and at the Bishop, and half drew his
" This matter is too great for you, sir,"
said the Bishop. " It is a quarrel of Princes.
Stand aside," and before the Chamberlain
could make up his mind what to do Osra
had passed by him and the Bishop had fol-
Finding themselves in a narrow passage,
they made out by the dim light of a lamp a
flight of stairs that rose from the furthest
end of it. The Bishop tried to pass the
Princess, but she motioned him back, and
walked swiftly to the stairs. In silence they
mounted, till they had reached the top of
the first stage ; and facing them, eight or
242 The Heart of Princess Osra,
ten steps further up, was a door. By the
door stood a groom ; this was the man who
had treacherously told Christian of his mas-
ter's doings ; but when he saw suddenly
what had come of his disloyal chattering,
the fellow turned white as a ghost and
came tottering in stealthy silence down the
stairs, his finger on his lips.
Neither of them spoke to him, nor he to
them. They gave no thought to him, his
only thought was to escape as soon as he
might ; so he passed them, and, going on,
passed also the Chamberlain, who stood
dazed at the house-door, and so disap-
peared, intent on saving the life he had
justly forfeited. Thus the rogue vanished,
and what became of him none knew or
cared. He showed his face no more at
Glottenberg or Strelsau.
" Hark, there are voices ! " whispered
Osra to the Bishop, raising her hand above
her head, as they two stood listening.
The voices came from the door that faced
them, the voice of a man and the voice of a
woman ; Osra's glance at her companion
told him that she knew as well as he whose
the man's voice was.
" It is true, then," she breathed from be-
tween her teeth. " My God, it is true ! "
The Love of the Prince of Glottenbergf* 243
The woman's voice spoke now, but the
words were not audible. Then came the
" For ever, in life or death, apart or to-
gether, for ever."
The woman's answer came no more in
words, but in deep low passionate sobs
which struck their ears like the distant cry
of some brute creature in pain that it can-
not understand. Yet Osra's face was stern
and cold, and her lips curled scornfully when
she saw the Bishop's look of pity.
" Come, let us end it," said she, and with
a firm step she began to mount the stairs
that lay between them and the door.
Yet once again they paused outside the
door, for it seemed as though the Princess
could not choose but listen to the passionate
words of love that pierced her ears like
knives ; yet they were all sad, speaking of
renunciation, not of happiness.
But at last she heard her own name ;
then with a sudden start she caught the
Bishop's hand, for she could not listen
longer. She staggered and reeled as she
whispered to him :
" The door, the door, open the door ! "
The Bishop, his right hand being across
his body and resting on the hilt of his
244 The Heart of Princess Osra*
sword, laid his left upon the handle of the
door, and turned it. Then he flung the
door open wide ; at that instant Osra
sprang past him, her eyes gleaming like
flames from her dead white face. And she
stood rigid on the threshold of the room,
with the Bishop by her side.
In the middle of the room stood the
Prince of Glottenberg ; strained in a close
embrace, clinging to him, supported by his
arms, with head buried in his breast, was a
girl of slight and slender figure, graceful
though not tall ; her body was still shaken
by continual struggling sobs. The Prince
held her there as though against the world,
but raised his head and looked at the in-
truders with a grave sad air. There was
no shame on his face, and hardly surprise.
Presently he took one arm from about the
lady, and, raising it, motioned to them to
be still. Osra took one step forward to-
wards where the pair stood ; the Bishop
caught her sleeve, but she shook him off.
The lady looked up into the Prince's face ;
with a sudden startled cry she clutched
him closer, and turned a terrified face over
her shoulder. Then she moaned in great
fear, and, reeling, fell against the Prince ;
she would have sunk to the ground if he
The Love of the Prince of Glottenberg* 245
had not upheld her, and her eyes closed
and her lip dropped, as she swooned away.
But the Princess smiled, and, drawing her-
self to her full height, stood watching
while Ludwig bore the lady to a couch
and laid her there. Then, when he came
back and faced her, she asked coldly and
" Who is this woman, sir ? Or is she one
of those who have no names ? "
The Prince sprang forward, a sudden
anger in his eyes ; he raised his hand as if
he would have pressed it across her scorn-
ful mouth and kept back her bitter words.
But she did not flinch ; pointing at him
with her finger, she cried to the Bishop in
a ringing voice :
" Kill him, my lord, kill him."
And the sword of the Bishop of Moden-
stein was half way out of the scabbard.
" I would to God, my lord," said the
Prince in low sad tones, "that God would
suffer you to kill me and me to take death
at your hands. But neither for you nor for
me is the blow lawful. Let me speak to
The Bishop still grasped his sword ; for
Osra's face and hand still commanded him.
But at the instant of his hesitation, while
246 The Heart of Princess Osra*
the temptation was hot on him, there came
from the couch where the lady lay a low
moan of great pain. She flung her arms
out and turned, groaning again, on her
back and her head lay hanging over the
side of the couch. The Bishop's eyes met
Ludwig's, and with a " God forgive me ! "
he let the sword slip back, and, springing
across the room, fell on his knees beside
the couch. He broke the gold chain round
his neck and grasped the crucifix which it
carried in one hand, while with the other
he raised the lady's head, praying her to
open her eyes, before whose closed lids he
held the sacred image ; and he, who had
come so near to great sin, now prayed
softly but fervently for her life and God's
pity on her ; for the frailty her slight form
showed could not withstand the shock of
" Who is she ? " asked the Princess.
But Ludwig's eyes had wandered back to
the couch, and he answered only :
" My God, it will kill her."
" I care not," said Osra. But then came
another low moan. " I care not," said the
Princess again. " Ah, she is in great
suffering ! " And her eyes followed the
The Love of the Prince of Glottenberg, 247
There was silence, save for the lady's low
moans and the whispered prayers of the
Bishop of Modenstein. But the lady
opened her eyes, and in an instant, answer-
ing the summons, the Prince was by her
side, kneeling and holding her hand very
tenderly ; and he met a glance from the
Bishop across her prostrate body. The
Prince bowed his head and one sob burst
" Leave me alone with her for a little,
sir," said the Bishop, and the Prince, obey-
ing, rose and withdrew into the bay of the
window, while Osra stood alone near the
door by which she had entered.
A few minutes passed, then Osra saw the
Prince return to where the lady was and
kneel again beside her ; and she saw that
the Bishop was preparing to perform his
most sacred and sublime office ; the lady's
eyes dwelt on him now in peace and rest-
fulness, and she held Prince Ludwig's hand
in her small hand. But Osra would not
kneel ; she stood upright, still and cold, as
though she neither saw nor heard anything
of what passed ; she would not pity nor
forgive the woman, even if, as they seemed
to think, she lay dying. But she spoke
once, asking in a harsh voice :
248 The Heart of Princess Osra.
" Is there no physician in the house or
" None, madame," said the Prince.
The Bishop began the office, and Osra
stood, dimly hearing the words of comfort,
peace, and hope, dimly seeing the smile on
the lady's face ; for gradually her eyes
clouded with tears. Now her ears seemed
to hear nothing save the sad and piteous
sobs that had shaken the girl as she hung
about Ludwig's neck. But she strove to
drive away her softer thoughts, fanning her
fury when it burnt low, and telling herself
again of the insult that she had suffered.
Thus she rested till the Bishop had per-
formed the office. But when he had finished
it, he rose from his knees and came to
where Osra was.
" It was your duty," she said, " but it is
none of mine."
" She will not live an hour," said he.
" For she had an affection of the heart, and
this shock has killed her. Indeed I think
she was half dead for grief before we came."
" Who is she ? " broke again from Osra's
" Come and hear," said he, and she fol-
lowed him obediently, yet unwillingly, to
the couch, and looked down at the lady.
The Love of the Prince of Glottenberg. 249
The lady looked at her with wondering
eyes, and then she smiled faintly, pressing
the Prince's hand, and whispering :
"Yet she is so beautiful." And she
seemed now wonderfully happy, so that they
three all watched her and were envious,
although they were to live and she to die.
" Now God pardon her sin ! " said the
Princess Osra suddenly, and she fell on her
knees beside the couch, crying : " Surely
God has pardoned her ! "
" Sin she has none, save what clings even
to the purest in this world," said the Bis-
hop. " For what she has said to me I know
to be true."
Osra answered nothing, but gazed in
questioning at the Prince, and he, still hold-
ing the lady's hand, began to speak in a
gentle voice :
" Do not ask her name, madame. But
from the first hour that we knew the mean-
ing of love we have loved one another. And
had the issue rested in my hands, I would
have thrown to the winds all that kept me
from her. I remember when first I met
her ah, my sweet, do you remember ?
From that day to this in soul she has been
mine, and I hers in all my life. But more
could not be. Madame, you have asked
2 so The Heart of Princess Osra*
what love is. Here is love. Yet fate is
stronger. Thus I came to Strelsau to woo,
and she, left alone, resolved to give herself
" How comes she here, then ? " whispered
Osra, and she laid one hand timidly on the
couch, near to the lady yet not so as to
touch even her garments.
11 She came here " he began ; but sud-
denly, to their amazement, the lady, who
had seemed dead, with an effort raised her-
self on her elbow, and spoke in a quick eager
whisper, as if she feared time and strength
11 He is a great Prince," she said, " he
must be a great King ; God means him for
greatness, God forbid that I should be his
ruin. Ah, what a sweet dream he painted !
But praise be to the Blessed Saints who
kept me strong. Yet at the last I was
weak. I could not live without another
sight of his face ; and so I came. Next
week I am I was to take the veil ; and I
came here to see him once again. God
pardon me for it. But I could not help it.
Ah, madame, I know you, and I see now
your beauty. Have you known love ?"
" No," said Osra ; and she moved her
hand near to the lady's hand.
The Love of the Prince of Giottenberg. 251
" When he found me here, he prayed me
again to do what he asked ; and I was half
killed in denying it. But I prevailed, and
we were even then parting when you came.
Why, why did I come ? " For a moment
her voice died away in a low soft moan.
But she made one more effort ; clasping
Osra's hand in her delicate fingers, she whis-
pered : " I am going. Be his wife."
" No, no, no," whispered Osra, her face
now close to the lady's. " You must live ;
you must live and be happy."
And then she kissed the lady's lips. The
lady put out her arms and clasped them
round Osra's neck, and again she whispered
softly in Osra's ear. Neither Ludwig nor
the Bishop heard what she said, but they
heard only that Osra sobbed. Presently
the lady's arms relaxed a little in their hold,
and Osra, having kissed her again, rose and
signed to Ludwig to come nearer ; while she,
turning, gave her hand to the Bishop, and
he led her from the room, and, finding
another room near, took her in there, where
she sat, silent and pale.
Thus half an hour passed ; then the Bishop
stole out softly, and presently returned,
" God has spared her the long painful
252 The Heart of Princess Osra.
path, and has taken her straight to His
Osra heard him, half in a trance and as
if she did not hear ; she did not know where
he went nor what he did, nor anything that
passed, until, as it seemed after a long
while, she looked up and saw Prince Lud-
wig standing before her. He was composed
and calm ; but it seemed as if half the
life had gone out of his face. Osra rose
slowly to her feet, supporting herself on an
arm of the chair on which she had sat ; and,
when she had seen his face, she suddenly
threw herself on the floor at his feet, cry-
" Forgive me, forgive me !'
" The guilt is mine," said he, " I did not
trust you and did by stealth what your
nobility would have allowed me to do
openly. The guilt is mine." And he offered
to raise her. But she rose, unaided, asking
with choking voice :
-Is she dead?"
" She is dead," said the Prince, and Osra,
hearing it, covered her face with her hands
and blindly groped her way back to the
chair, where she sat, panting and exhausted.
" To her I have said farewell, and now,
madame, to you. Yet do not think that I
FORGIVE ME, FORGIVE ME ! ' V Page 252.
The Love of the Prince of Glottenberg. 253
am a man without eyes for your beauty, or
a heart to know your worth. I seemed to
you a fool and a churl. I grieved most
bitterly, and I wronged you bitterly. My
excuse for all is now known. For though
you are more beautiful than she, yet true
love is no wanderer ; it gives a beauty that
it does not find, and forges a chain no
charms can break. Madame, farewell."
She looked at him and saw the sad joy in
his eyes, an exultation over what had been,
that what was could not destroy ; and she
knew that the vision was still with him
though his love was dead. Suddenly he
seemed to her a man she also might love and
for whom she also, if need be, might gladly
die ; yet not because she loved him, for
she was asking still in wonder : " What is
this love ? "
" Madame, farewell," said he again, and,
kneeling before her, he kissed her hand.
" I carry the body of my love," he went
on, " back with me to my home, there to
mourn for her ; and I shall come no more to
Osra bent her eyes on his face as he knelt,
and presently she said to him in a whisper
that was low for awe, not shame :
" You heard what she bade me do ? "
254 The Heart of Princess Osra
" Yes, madame. I know her wish."
" And you would do it ? " she asked.
11 Madame, my struggle was fought before
she died. But now you know that my love
was not yours."
" That also I knew before, sir," and a
slight bitter smile came on her face. But
she grew grave again and sat there, seeming
to be pondering, while Prince Ludwig
waited. Then she suddenly leant forward
and said :
" If I loved I would wait for you to love.
Now what is this love that I cannot feel ? "
And then she sat again silent, but at last
raised her eyes again to his, saying in a
voice that even in the stillness of the room
he hardly heard :
" Now I nearly love you, for I have seen
your love and know that you can love ;
and I think that love must breed love, so
that she who loves must in God's time be
beloved. Yet I " She paused here,
and for a moment hid her face with her
hand. " Yet I cannot," she went on. " Is
it our Lord Christ who bids us take the
lower place? I cannot take it. He does
not so reign in my heart. For to my proud
heart ah, my heart so proud ! she would
be ever between us. I could not bear it.
The Love of the Prince of Glottenberg, 255
Yet I believe now that with you I might
one day find happiness."
The Prince, though in that hour he could
not think of love, was yet very much moved
by her new tenderness and felt that what
had passed rather drew them together than
made any separation between them. And
it seemed to him that the dead lady's bless-
ing was on his suit ; so he said :
" Madame, I would most faithfully serve
you and you would be nearest and dearest
to me of all living women."
She waited awhile, then she sighed heavily,
looking in his face with an air of wistful
longing ; and she knit her brows as though
she were puzzled. But at last, shaking her
head, she said :
" It is not enough."
With this she rose and took him by the
hand, and they two went back together to
where the Bishop of Modenstein still prayed
beside the body of the lady.
Osra stood on one side of the body and
stretched her hand out to the Prince who
stood on the other side.
u See," said she, " she must be between
us." And having kissed the dead face
once, she left the Prince there by the side of
his love and herself went out ; and, turning
256 The Heart of Princess Osra.
her head, she saw that the Prince knelt again
by the corpse of his love.
" He does not think of me," she said to
" His thoughts are still with her, madame,"
It was late night now, and they rode
swiftly and silently along the road to Strel-
sau. On all the way they spoke to one
another only a few words, both being sunk
deep in thought. But once Osra spoke, as
they were already near to Strelsau. For
she turned suddenly to the Bishop, saying :
" My lord, what is it ? Do you know it ? "
" Yes, madame, I have known it,"
answered the Bishop.
" Yet you are a Churchman ! "
"True, madame," said he, and he smiled
She seemed to consider, fixing her eyes
on his ; but he turned his aside.
" Could you not make me understand?"
" Your lover, when he comes, will do
that, madame," said he, and still he kept
his eyes averted. Osra wondered why he
kept his eyes turned away ; yet presently
a faint smile curved her lips, and she said :
"It may be you might feel it, if you were
The Love of the Prince of Glottenberg. 257
not a Churchman. But I do not. Many
men have said they loved me, and I have
felt something in my heart ; but not this."
" It will come," said the Bishop.
" Does it come then to every one ?"
" To most," he answered.
" Heigho, will it ever come to me? " she
With this they were at home. And Osra
was for a long time very sorrowful for the
fate of the lady whom the Prince of Glotten-
berg had loved ; yet, since she saw Ludwig
no more, and the joy of youth conquers
sadness, she ceased to mourn ; but as she
walked alone she would wonder more and
more what it might be, this great love that
she did not feel.
"For none will tell me, not even the
Bishop of Modenstein," said she.
The Victory of the Grand Duke of Mittenheim.
KING RUDOLF, being in the worst of
humours, had declared in the presence of
all the Court that women were born to
plague men and for no other purpose what-
soever under heaven. Hearing this dis-
courteous speech, the Princess Osra rose and
said that for her part she would go walking
alone by the river outside the city gates,
where at least she would be assailed by no
more reproaches. For since she was irrevoc-
ably determined to live and die unmarried,
of what use or benefit was it to trouble her
with embassies, courting, or proposals from
either the Grand Duke of Mittenheim or
anybody else ? She was utterly weary of
this matter of love, and her mood would be
unchanged though this new suitor were as
exalted as the King of France, as rich as
Crcesus himself, and as handsome as the god
Apollo. She did not desire a husband,
and there was an end of it. Thus she went
A YOUNG MAN SPRANG UP, AND, WITH A LOW BOW, DRKW ASIDK TO LET HER
The Victory of the Grand Duke* 259
out, while the Queen sighed, and the King
fumed, and the courtiers and ladies said to
one another that these dissensions made
life very uncomfortable at Strelsau, the
ladies further adding that he would be a
bold man who married Osra, although doubt-
less she was not ill-looking.
To the banks of the river outside the
walls then Osra went ; and as she went she
seemed to be thinking of nothing at all in
the world, least of all of whom she might
chance to meet there on the banks of the
river, where in those busy hours of the day
few came. Yet there was a strange new
light in her eyes, and there seemed a new
understanding in her mind ; and when a
young peasant wife came by, her baby in
her arms, Osra stopped her, and kissed the
child and gave money, and then ran on in
unexplained confusion, laughing and blush-
ing as though she had done something
which she did not wish to be seen. Then
without reason her eyes filled with tears,
but she dashed them away and burst sud-
denly into singing. And she was still sing-
ing when, from the long grass by the river's
edge, a young man sprang up, and, with a
very low bow, drew aside to let her pass.
He had a book in his hand, for he was' a
260 The Heart of Princess Osra*
student at the University, and came there
to pursue his learning in peace ; his plain
brown clothes spoke of no wealth or station,
though certainly they set off a stalwart
straight shape and seemed to match well
with his bright brown hair and hazel eyes.
Very low this young man bowed and Osra
bent her head. The pace of her walk
slowed, grew quicker, slowed again ; she was
past him, and with a great sigh he lay down
again. She turned, he sprang up ; she spoke
coldly, yet kindly.
" Sir," said she, " I cannot but notice that
you lie every day here by the river with your
book, and that you sigh. Tell me your
trouble, and if I can I will relieve it."
" I am reading, madame," he answered,
" of Helen of Troy, and I am sighing be-
cause she is dead."
"It is an old grief by now," said Osra,
smiling. " Will none serve you but Helen
of Troy ? "
" If I were a Prince," said he, " I need
" No, madame," he said, with another bow.
" Farewell, sir."
" Madame, farewell."
So she went on her way, and saw him no
The Victory of the Grand Duke* 261
more till the next day, nor after that till the
next day following ; and then came an in-
terval when she saw him not, and the inter-
val was no less than twenty-four hours ; yet
still he read of Helen of Troy, and still
sighed because she was dead, and he no
Prince. At last he tempted the longed-for
question from Osra's shy smiling lips.
"Why would you not mourn, sir, if you
were a Prince ?" said she. "For Princes
and Princesses have their share of sighs."
And with a very plaintive sigh Osra looked
at the rapid running river, as she waited for
" Because then I would go to Strelsau
and so forget her."
" But you are at Strelsau now ! " she cried
with wondering surprise.
"Ah, but I am no Prince, madame," said
" Can Princes alone forget in Strelsau ? "
" How should a poor student dare to
forget in Strelsau ? " As he spoke he made
bold to step near her and stood close, look-
ing down into her face. Without a word
she turned and left him, going through the
meadow with a step that seemed to dance
and yet led her to her own chamber, where
she could weep in quiet.
262 The Heart of Princess Osra.
" I know it now, I know it now," she
whispered softly that night to the tree which
rose by her window. " Heigho, what am I
to do ? I cannot live, no, and now I cannot
die. Ah me, what am I to do ? I wish I
were a peasant girl ; but then perhaps he
would not ah, yes, but he would ! " And
her low long laugh rippled in triumph
through the night, blending sweetly with
the rustling of the leaves under a summer
breeze ; and she stretched her white arms to
heaven, imploring the kind God with prayers
that she dared not speak even to His pitiful
" Love knows no Princesses, my Prin-
cess." It was that she heard as she fled from
him next day. She should have rebuked
him. But for that she must have stayed ;
and to stay she had not dared. But she
must rebuke him. She would see him again
in order to rebuke him. Yet all this while
she must be pestered with the court of the
Grand Duke of Mittenheim ! And when she
would not name a day on which the em-
bassy should come, the King flew into a
passion, and declared that he himself would
set a date for it. Was his sister mad, he
asked, that she would do nothing but walk
every day by the river's bank ? " Surely I
'"YOU ARE THE BEAUTY OF THE WORLD,' HK ANSWERED SMILING." Page 26j.
The Victory of the Grand Duke* 263
must be mad," thought Osra ; for no sane
being could be at once so joyful and so
Did he know what it was he asked ? He
seemed to know nothing of it. He did not
speak any more now of Princesses, only of
his Princess, nor of Queens, save of his
heart's queen ; and when his eyes asked love,
they asked as though none would refuse and
there could be no cause for refusal. He
would have wooed his neighbour's daughter
thus, and thus he wooed the sister of King
" Will you love me ? " was his question,
not, " Though you love, yet dare you own
your love ? " He seemed to shut the whole
world from her, leaving nothing but her and
him ; and in a world that held none but her
and him, she could love, unblamed, un-
troubled, and with no trembling.
" You forget who I am," she faltered
"You are the beauty of the world," he
answered smiling, and he kissed her hand
a matter about which she could make no
great ado, for it was not the first time that
he had kissed it.
But the embassy from the Grand Duke
was to come in a week and to be received
264 The Heart of Princess Osra.
with great pomp. The ambassador was
already on the way, carrying proposals and
gifts. Therefore Osra went pale and sad
down to the river bank that day, having
declared again to the King that she would
live and die unmarried. But the King had
laughed cruelly. Surely she needed kind-
ness and consolation that sad day ; yet Fate
had kept for her a crowning sorrow ; for
she found him also almost sad ; at least she
could not tell whether he was sad or not.
For he smiled and yet seemed ill at ease,
like a man who ventures a fall with fortune,
hoping and fearing. And he said to her :
" Madame, in a week I return to my own
She looked at him in silence with lips
just parted. For her life she could not
speak ; but the sun grew dark and the river
changed its merry tune to mournful dirges.
" So the dream ends," said he. " So
comes the awakening. But if life were all
a dream ? " His eyes sought hers.
" Yes," she whispered, " if life were all a
dream, sir ?"
" Then I should dream of two dreamers
whose dream was one, and in that dream I
should see them ride together at break of
day from Strelsau."
The Victory of the Grand Duke. 265
" Whither ? " she murmured.
" To Paradise," said he. " But the
dream ends. If it did not end " He
" If it did not end ? " a breathless longing
" If it did not end now, it should not end
even with death," said he.
" You see them in your dream ? You
see them riding?"
" Aye, swiftly, side by side, they two
alone, through the morning. None is near ;
He seemed to be searching her face for
something that yet he scarcely hoped to
" Their dream," said he, " brings them at
last to a small cottage ; it is where they
" They live?"
" And work," he added. " For she keeps
his home while he works."
" What does she do ?" asked Osra, with
smiling wondering eyes.
" She gets his supper for him when he
comes home weary in the evening, and
makes a bright fire, and
" Ah, and she runs to meet him at the
door ! Oh, farther than the door ! "
268 The Heart of Princess Osra.
man were only firm enough and kept his
temper (which, by the way, the King had
not done, though none dared say so), he
could bring any foolish girl to reason in
good time. For in the softest voice, and
with the strangest smile flitting to her face,
the Princess Osra was pleased to bid the
embassy come on the fifth day from then.
<4 They shall have their answer then," said
she, flushing and smiling.
" It is as much as any lady could say," the
Court declared ; and it was reported through
all Strelsau that the match was as good as
made, and that Osra was to be Grand
Duchess of Mittenheim.
" She's a sensible girl after all," cried
Rudolf, all his anger gone.
The dream began then, before they came
to the cottage. Those days she lived in its
golden mists, that shut out all the cold
world from her, moving through space which
held but one form, and time that stood still
waiting for one divine unending moment.
And the embassy drew near to Strelsau.
It was night, the dead of night, and all
was still in the Palace. But the sentinel by
the little gate was at his post, and the gate-
warden stood by the Western Gate of the
city. Each was now alone, but to each, an
The Victory of the Grand Duke. 269
hour ago, a man had come stealthily and
silently through the darkness ; and each
was richer by a bag of gold than he had
been before. The gold was Osra's how
should a poor student, whose whole fortune
was two horses, scatter bags of gold ? And
other gold Osra had, aye, five hundred
crowns. Would not that be a brave sur-
. prise for the poor student ? And she, alone
of all awake, stood looking round her room,
entranced with the last aspect of it. Over
the city also she looked, but in the selfish-
ness of her joy did no more than kiss a
hasty farewell to the good city folk who
loved her. Once she thought that maybe,
some day, he and she would steal together
back to Strelsau, and sheltered by some
disguise watch the King ride in splendour
through the streets. But if not why, what
was Strelsau, and the people, and the rest ?
Ah, how long the hours were, before those
two horses stood by the little gate, and the
sentry and the gate-warden earned their
bags of gold ! So she passed the hours, the
last long lingering hours.
There was a little tavern buried in the
narrowest oldest street of the city. Here
the poor student had lodged ; here, in the
back room, a man sat at a table, and two
268 The Heart of Princess Osra.
man were only firm enough and kept his
temper (which, by the way, the King had
not done, though none dared say so), he
could bring any foolish girl to reason in
good time. For in the softest voice, and
with the strangest smile flitting to her face,
the Princess Osra was pleased to bid the
embassy come on the fifth day from then.
" They shall have their answer then," said
she, flushing and smiling.
" It is as much as any lady could say," the
Court declared ; and it was reported through
all Strelsau that the match was as good as
made, and that Osra was to be Grand
Duchess of Mittenheim.
" She's a sensible girl after all," cried
Rudolf, all his anger gone.
The dream began then, before they came
to the cottage. Those days she lived in its
golden mists, that shut out all the cold
world from her, moving through space which
held but one form, and time that stood still
waiting for one divine unending moment.
And the embassy drew near to Strelsau.
It was night, the dead of night, and all
was still in the Palace. But the sentinel by
the little gate was at his post, and the gate-
warden stood by the Western Gate of the
city. Each was now alone, but to each, an
The Victory of the Grand Duke* 269
hour ago, a man had come stealthily and
silently through the darkness ; and each
was richer by a bag of gold than he had
been before. The gold was Osra's how
should a poor student, whose whole fortune
was two horses, scatter bags of gold ? And
other gold Osra had, aye, five hundred
crowns. Would not that be a brave sur-
prise for the poor student ? And she, alone
of all awake, stood looking round her room,
entranced with the last aspect of it. Over
the city also she looked, but in the selfish-
ness of her joy did no more than kiss a
hasty farewell to the good city folk who
loved her. Once she thought that maybe,
some day, he and she would steal together
back to Strelsau, and sheltered by some
disguise watch the King ride in splendour
through the streets. But if not why, what
was Strelsau, and the people, and the rest ?
Ah, how long the hours were, before those
two horses stood by the little gate, and the
sentry and the gate-warden earned their
bags of gold ! So she passed the hours, the
last long lingering hours.
There was a little tavern buried in the
narrowest oldest street of the city. Here
the poor student had lodged ; here, in the
back room, a man sat at a table, and two
270 The Heart of Princess Osra*
others stood before him. These two seemed
gentlemen, and their air spoke of military
training. They stroked long moustaches
and smiled with an amusement that defer-
ence could not hide. Both were booted
and wore spurs, and the man sitting at the
table gave them orders.
1 'You will meet the embassy," he said to
one, " about ten o'clock. Bring it to the
place I have appointed, and wait there.
Do not fail."
The officer addressed bowed and retired.
A minute later his horse's hoofs clattered
through the streets. Perhaps he also had
a bag of gold, for the gate-warden opened
the Western Gate for him, and he rode at a
gallop along the river banks, till he reached
the great woods that stretch to within ten
miles of Strelsau.
" An hour after we are gone," said the
man at the table to the other officer, " go
warily, find one of the King's servants, and
hand him the letter. Give no account of
how you came by it, and say nothing of who
you are. All that is necessary is in the
letter. When you have delivered it, return
here and remain in close hiding, till you
hear from me again."
The second officer bowed. The man at
The Victory of the Grand Duke* 271
the table rose and went out into the street.
He took his way to where the Palace rose,
and then skirted the wall of its gardens, till
he came to the little gate. Here stood two
horses, and at their heads a man.
" It is well. You may go," said the
student ; and he was left alone with the
horses. They were good horses for a
student to possess. The thought perhaps
crossed their owner's mind, for he laughed
softly as he looked at them. Then he also
fell to thinking that the hours were long ;
and a fear came suddenly upon him that
she would not come. It was in these last
hours that doubts crept in ; and he was not
with her to drive them away. Would the
great trial fail ? Would she shrink at the
last ? But he would not think it of her,
and he was smiling again, when the clock of
the Cathedral struck two, telling him that
no more than an hour now parted her from
him. For she would come ; the Princess
would come to him, the student, led by the
vision of that cottage in the dream.
Would she come ? She would come ; she
had risen from her knees and moved to and
fro in cautious silence, making her last prep-
arations. She had written a word of love
for the brother she loved for some day, of
*7 The Heart of Princess Osra*
course, Rudolf would forgive her and she
had ready all that she took with her, the
five hundred crowns, one ring that she would
give her lover, some clothes to serve till his
loving labour furnished more. That night
she had wept and she had laughed ; now
she neither wept nor laughed ; but there
was a high pride in her face and gait. She
opened the door of her room, and walked
down the great staircase, under the eyes of
crowned Kings who hung framed upon the
walls. And as she went she seemed indeed
their daughter. For her head was erect,
and her lips set firm in haughty dignity.
Who dared to say that she did anything that
a King's daughter should not do ? Should
not a woman love ? Love should be her
diadem. And so with this proud step she
came through the gardens of the Palace,
looking neither to right nor left, nor be-
hind, but with her face set straight for the
little gate ; and she walked as she had been
accustomed to walk when all Strelsau looked
on her, and hailed her as its glory and its
The sentry slept, or seemed to sleep.
Her face was not even veiled when she
opened the little gate ; she would not veil
her proud face, it was his to look on now
The Victory of the Grand Duke* 273
when he would ; and thus she stood for an
instant in the gateway, while he sprang to
her, and, kneeling, carried her hand to his
"You are come? "he cried; for though
he had believed, yet he wondered.
" I am come," she smiled. " Is not the
word of a Princess sure? Ah, how could I
not come ? "
"See, love," said he, rising, "day dawns
in royal purple for you, and golden love for
" The purple is for my King and the love
for me," she whispered, as he led her to the
horses. " Your fortune ! " said she, point-
ing to them. " But I also have brought a
dowry. Fancy, five hundred crowns ! " and
her mirth and happiness burst out in a
laugh. It was so deliciously little, five
hundred crowns !
She was mounted now and he stood by
" Will you turn back ? " he said.
" You shall not make me angry," said she.
" Come, mount."
" Aye, I must mount," said he. " For if
we were found here the King would kill
For the first time the peril of their enter-
274 The Heart of Princess Osra.
prise seemed to strike into her mind, and
turned her cheek pale.
"Ah, I forgot ! In my happiness I for-
got. Mount, mount ! Oh, if he found
you ! "
He mounted. Once they clasped hands ;
then they rode swiftly for the Western Gate.
"Veil your face," he said, and since he
bade her, she obeyed, saying :
4< But I can see you through the veil."
The gate stood open, and the gate-warden
was not there. They were out of the city,
the morning air blew cold and pure over the
meadows from the river. The horses
stretched into an eager willing gallop. Osra
tore her veil from her face, and turned on
him eyes of radiant triumph.
" It is done," she cried, " it is done."
" Yes, it is done, my Princess," said he.
" And and it is begun, my Prince," said
" Yes, and it is begun," said he.
She laughed aloud in absolute joy, and
for a moment he also laughed.
But then his face grew grave, and he said :
" I pray you may never grieve for it."
She looked at him with eyes wide in
wonder ; for an instant she seemed puzzled ;
then she fell again to laughing.
The Victory of the Grand Duke. 275
" Grieve for it ! " said she, between her
King Rudolf was a man who lay late in
the morning, and he was not well pleased
to be roused when the clock had but just
struck four. Yet he sat up in his bed
readily enough, for he imagined that the
embassy from the Grand Duke of Mitten-
heim must be nearer than he thought, and,
sooner than fail in any courtesy towards a
Prince whose alliance he ardently desired,
he was ready to submit to much incon-
venience. But his astonishment was great,
when, instead of any tidings from the em-
bassy, one of his gentlemen handed him a
letter, saying that a servant had received it
from a stranger with instructions to carry it
at once to the King ; when asked if an
answer were desired from his Majesty, the
stranger had answered, " Not through me,"
and at once turned away and quickly dis-
appeared. The King, with a peevish oath
at having been roused for such a trifle broke
the seal and fastenings of the letter, and
opened it ; and he read :
" Sire, Your sister does not wait for the
embassy, but chooses her own lover. She
has met a student of the University every
day for the last three weeks by the river
276 The Heart of Princess Osra.
bank." (The King started.) " This morn-
ing she has fled with him on horseback
along the Western Road. If you desire a
student for a brother-in-law, sleep again ; if
not, up and ride. Do not doubt these tid-
There was no signature to the letter ; yet
the King, knowing his sister, cried :
" See whether the Princess is in the
Palace. And in the meanwhile saddle my
horse, and let a dozen of the Guard be at
The Princess was not in the Palace, but
her women found the letter that she had
left, and brought it to the King. And the
King read : " Brother, whom I love best of
all men in the world save one, I have left
you to go with that one. You will not for-
give me now, but some day forgive me.
Nay, it is not I who have done it, but my
love which is braver than I. He is the
sweetest gentleman alive, brother, and there-
fore he must be my lord. Let me go, but
still love me. Osra."
" It [is true," said the King ; " and the
embassy will be here to-day ! " For a
moment he seemed dazed. Yet he spoke
nothing to anybody of what the letters con-
tained, but sent word to the Queen's apart-
The Victory of the Grand Duke* 277
ments that he went riding for pleasure.
And he took his sword and his pistols ; for
he swore that by his own hand and by that
of no other man, this " sweetest gentleman
alive " should meet his death. But all,
knowing that the Princess was not in the
Palace, guessed that the King's sudden
haste concerned her ; and great wonder and
speculation rose in the Palace, and presently,
as the morning advanced, spread from the
Palace to its environs, and from the environs
to the rest of the city. For it was reported
that a sentinel who had stood guard that
night was missing, and that the gate-warden
of the Western Gate was nowhere to be
found, and that a mysterious letter had
come by an unknown hand to the King,
and lastly, that Princess Osra their Prin-
cess was gone, whether of her own will or
by some bold plot of seizure and kidnap-
ping, none knew. Thus a great stir grew in
all Strelsau ; men stood about the streets
gossiping when they should have gone to
work, while women chattered instead of
sweeping their houses and dressing their
children. So that when the King rode out
of the courtyard of the Palace at a gallop,
with twelve of the Guard behind, he could
hardly make his way through the streets for
278 The Heart of Princess Osra<>
the people who crowded round him, implor-
ing 1 him to tell them where the Princess
was. When the King saw that the matter
had become public, his wrath was greater
still, and he swore again that the student of
the University should pay the price of life
for his morning ride with the Princess.
And when he darted through the gate and
set his horse straight along the Western
Road, many of the people, neglecting all
their business as folk will for excitement's
sake, followed him as they best could, agog
to see the thing to its end.
" The horses are weary," said the student
to the Princess, "we must let them rest;
we are now in the shelter of the wood."
(i But my brother may pursue you," she
urged, " and if he came up with you ah,
heaven forbid ! "
" He will not know you have gone for
another three hours," smiled he. " And
here is a green bank where we can rest."
So he aided her to dismount ; then, say-
ing he would tether the horses, he led them
away some distance, so that she could not
see where he had posted them ; and he re-
turned to her, smiling still. Then he took
from his pocket some bread, and breaking
the loaf in two, gave her one half, saying :
The Victory of the Grand Duke* 279
" There is a spring just here ; so we shall
have a good breakfast."
" Is this your breakfast ?" she asked with
a wondering laugh. Then she began to
eat, and cried directly: " How delicious this
bread is ! I would have nothing else for
breakfast " ; and at this the student laughed.
Yet Osra ate little of the bread she liked
so well ; presently she leant against her
lover's shoulder, and he put his arm round
her ; and they sat for a little while in silence
listening to the soft sounds that filled the
waking woods as day grew to fulness and
the sun beat warm through the sheltering
" Don't you hear the trees ?" Osra whis-
pered to her lover. " Don't you hear them ?
They are whispering for me what I dare
"What is it they whisper, sweet?" he
asked ; he himself did no more than whisper.
" The trees whisper, ' Love, love, love.'
And the wind don't you hear the wind
murmuring, ' Love, love, love ' ? And the
birds sing, ' Love, love, love.' Aye, all the
world to-day is softly whispering, ' Love,
love, love.' What else should the great
world whisper but my love ? For my love
is greater than the world," And she sud-
280 The Heart of Princess Osra*
denly hid her face in her hands ; and he
could kiss no more than her hands, though
her eyes gleamed at him from between slim
But suddenly her hands dropped, and she
leant forward as though she listened.
" What is that sound ? " she asked, appre-
hension dawning in her eyes.
" It is but another whisper, love ! " said he.
" Nay, but it sounds to me like ah, like
the noise of horses galloping."
" It is but the stream, beating over stones."
" Listen, listen, listen !" she cried spring-
ing to her feet. " They are horses' hoofs !
Ah, merciful God, it is the King ! " And
she caught him by the hand and pulled him
to his feet, looking at him with a face pale
" Not the King," said he. " He would
not know yet. It is some one else. Hide
your face, dear lady, and all will be well."
" It is the King," she cried. " Hark how
ili< y j'lillop on the road ! It is my brother.
l.ovr, he will kill you, love, he will kill
" It is the King," said he, " I have been
' 'J he horses, the horses ! " she cried,
I'.y your I<>\<- lor me, the horses!"
The Victory of the Grand Duke. 281
He nodded his head, and, turning, disap-
peared among the trees. She stood with
clasped hands, heaving breast, and fearful
eyes, awaiting his return. Minutes passed
and he did not come. She flung herself on
her knees, beseeching heaven for his life.
At last he came alone, and he bent over
her, taking her hand.
" My love," said he, " the horses are gone ! "
" Gone ? " she cried, gripping his hand.
" Aye. This love, my love, is a wonder-
ful thing. For I forgot to tie them, and
they are gone. Yet what matter ? For the
King yes, sweet, I think now it is the
King will not be here for some minutes
yet, and those minutes I have still for love
" He will kill you," she said.
" Yes," said he.
She looked long in his eyes ; then she
threw her arms about his neck, and, for the
first time unasked, covered his face with
" Kiss me, kiss me," said she ; and he
kissed her. Then she drew back a little,
but took his arm and set it round her waist.
And she drew a little knife from her girdle,
and showed it to him.
" If the King will not pardon us and let
282 The Heart of Princess Osra*
us love one another, I also will die," said
she, and her voice was quiet and happy.
" Indeed, my love, I should not grieve. Ah,
do not tell me to live without you ! "
" Would you obey ? " he asked.
" Not in that," said she.
Thus they stood, while the sound of the
hoofs drew very near. But she looked up
at him and he looked at her ; then she
looked at the point of the little dagger, and
she whispered :
" Keep your arm round me till I die."
He bent his head and kissed her once
again, saying :
" My Princess, it is enough."
And she, though she did not know why
he smiled, yet smiled back at him. For
although life was sweet that day, yet such a
death, with him, and to prove her love for
him, seemed well-nigh as sweet. Thus they
awaited the coming of the King.
King Rudolf and his Guards far out-
stripped the people who pursued them from
the city, and when they came to the skirt
of the wood they divided themselves into
four parties, since, if they went all together,
they might easily miss the fugitives whom
they sought. Of these four parties one
The Victory of the Grand Duke* 283
found nothing, another found the two horses,
which the student himself, who had hidden
them, failed to find ; the third party had not
gone far before they caught sight of the
lovers, though the lovers did not see them ;
and two of them remained to watch, and if
need were to intercept any attempted flight,
while the other rode off to find the King
and bring him where Osra and the student
were, as he had commanded.
But the fourth party, with which the
King was, though it did not find the fugi-
tives, found the embassy from the Grand
Duke of Mittenheim ; for the ambassador,
with all his train, was resting by the road-
side, seeming in no haste at all to reach
Strelsau. When the King suddenly rode
up at great speed and came upon the em-
bassy, an officer that stood by the ambassa-
dor whose name was Count Sergius of
Antheim stooped down and whispered in
his Excellency's ear ; upon which he rose
and advanced towards the King, uncovering
his head and bowing profoundly ; for he
chose to assume that the King had ridden
to meet him out of excessive graciousness
and courtesy towards the Grand Duke ; so
that he began, to the impatient King's infi-
nite annoyance, to make a very long and
284 The Heart of Princess Osra*
stately speech, assuring his Majesty of the
great hope and joy with which his master
awaited the result of the embassy ; for, said
he, since the King was so zealous in his
cause, his master could not bring himself to
doubt of success, and therefore most confi-
dently looked to win for his bride the most
exalted and lovely lady in the world, the
peerless Princess Osra, the glory of the
Court of Strelsau, and the brightest jewel
in the crown of the King her brother. Hav-
ing brought this period to a prosperous
conclusion, Count Sergius took breath
and began another that promised to be
fully as magnificent and not a whit less
long. So that, before it was well started,
the King smote his hand on his thigh, and
" Heavens, man, while you're making
speeches, that rascal is carrying off my
sister ! "
Count Sergius, who was an elderly man
of handsome presence and great dignity,
being thus rudely and strangely interrupted,
showed great astonishment and offence ; but
the officer by him covered his mouth with
his hand to hide a smile. For the moment
that the King had spoken these impetuous
words he was himself overwhelmed with
The Victory of the Grand Duke* 285
confusion ; since the last thing that he
wished the Grand Duke's ambassador to
know was that the Princess, whom his mas-
ter courted, had run away that morning
with a student of the University of Strelsau.
Accordingly he began, very hastily and with
more regard for prudence than for truth, to
tell Count Sergius how a noted and bold
criminal had that morning swooped down
on the Princess as she rode unattended out-
side the city and carried her off ; which
seemed to the ambassador a very strange
story. But the King told it with great
fervour, and he besought the Count to
scatter his attendants all through the wood,
and seek the robber ; yet he charged them
not to kill the man themselves but to keep
him till he came. " For I have sworn to
kill him with my own hand," he cried.
Now Count Sergius, however much aston-
ished he might be, could do nothing but
accede to the King's request, and he sent
off all his men to scour the woods, and,
mounting his horse, himself set out with
them, showing great zeal in the King's
service, but still thinking the King's story
a very strange one. Thus the King was
left alone with his two Guards and with
the officer who had smiled.
286 The Heart of Princess Osra*
"Will you not go also, sir?" asked the
But at this moment a man galloped up
at furious speed, crying :
" We have found them, sire, we have
found them ! "
" Then he hasn't five minutes to live!"
cried the King in fierce joy, and he lugged
out his sword, adding : " The moment I set
my eyes on him, I will kill him. There is
no need for words between me and him."
At this speech the face of the officer grew
suddenly grave and alarmed, and he put
spurs to his horse and hastened after the
King, who had at once dashed away in the
direction in which the man had pointed ;
but the King had got a start and kept it, so
that the officer seemed terribly frightened,
and muttered to himself :
" Heaven send that he does not kill him
before he knows ! " And he added some
very impatient words, concerning the follies
of Princes, and, above all, of Princes in
Thus, while the ambassador and his men
searched high and low for the noted robber,
and the King's men hunted for the student
of the University, the King, followed by
two of his Guards at a distance of about
The Victory of the Grand Duke* 287
fifty yards (for his horse was better than
theirs), came straight to where Osra and
her lover stood together ; a few yards be-
hind the Guards came the officer ; and he
also had by now drawn his sword. But he
rode so eagerly that he overtook and passed
the King's Guards, and got within thirty
yards of the King by the time that the
King was within twenty of the lovers. But
the King let him get no nearer, for he dug
his spurs again into his horse's side, and
the animal bounded forward, while the
King cried furiously to his sister : " Stand
away from him ! "
The Princess did not heed, but stood in
front of her lover (for the student was
wholly unarmed), holding up the little dag-
ger in her hand. The King laughed scorn-
fully and angrily, thinking that Osra
menaced him with the weapon, and not
supposing that it was herself for whom she
destined it. And, having reached them, the
King leapt from his horse and ran at them,
with his sword raised to strike. Osra gave
a cry of terror. " Mercy ! " she cried,
" mercy ! " But the King had no thought
of mercy, and he would certainly then and
there have killed her lover, had not the
officer, gaining a moment's time by the
288 The Heart of Princess Osra.
King's dismounting, at this very instant
come galloping up ; and, there being no
leisure for any explanation, he leant from his
saddle as he dashed by, and, putting out
his hand, snatched the King's sword away
from him, just as the King was about to
thrust it through his sister's lover.
But the officer's horse was going so
furiously that he could not stop it for hard
on forty yards ; he narrowly escaped split-
ting his head against a great bough that
hung low across the grassy path, and he
dropped first his own sword and then the
King's ; but at last he brought his horse to
a standstill, and, leaping down, ran back
towards where the swords lay. But at the
moment the King also ran towards them ;
for the fury that he had been in before was
as nothing to that which now possessed him.
After his sword was snatched from him he
stood in speechless anger for a full minute,
but then had turned to pursue the man who
had dared to treat him with such insult ;
and now, in his desire to be at the officer,
he had come very near to forgetting the
student. Just as the officer came to where
the King's sword lay and picked it up, the
King in his turn reached the officer's sword
and picked up that. The King came with
The Victory of the Grand Dnke* 289
a rush at the officer, who, seeing that the
King was likely to kill him, or he the King,
if he stood his ground, turned tail and sped
away at the top of his speed through the
forest ; but as he went, thinking that the
time had come for plain speaking, he looked
back over his shoulder and shouted :
" Sire, it's the Grand Duke himself ! "
The King stopped short in sudden amaze-
" Is the man mad ? " he asked. " Who
is the Grand Duke?"
" It's the Grand Duke, sire, who is with
the Princess. You would have killed him
if I had not snatched your sword," said the
officer, and he also came to a halt, but he
kept a very wary eye on King Rudolf.
" I should certainly have killed him, let
him be who he will," said the King. " But
why do you call him the Grand Duke ? "
The officer very cautiously approached
the King, and, seeing that the King made
no threatening motion, he at last trusted
himself so close that he could speak to the
King in a very low voice ; and what he said
seemed to astonish, please, and alnuse the
King immensely. For he clapped the offi-
cer on the back, laughed heartily, and
290 The Heart of Princess Osra.
" A pretty trick ! on my life, a pretty
Now Osra and her lover had not heard
what the officer had shouted to the King,
and when Osra saw her brother returning
from among the trees alone and with his
sword, she still supposed that her lover
must die ; so she turned and flung her arms
round his neck, and clung to him for a
moment, kissing him. Then she faced the
King, with a smile on her lips and the little
dagger in her hand. But the King came
up, wearing a scornful smile ; and he asked
" What is the dagger for, my wilful sis-
" For me, if you kill him," said she.
" You will kill yourself, then, if I kill
him ? "
" I would not live a moment after he was
" Faith, it is wonderful ! " said the King
with a shrug. " Then plainly, if you cannot
live without him, you must live with him.
He is to be your husband, not mine. There-
fore take him, if you will."
When Osra heard this, which, indeed, for
joy and wonder she could hardly believe,
she dropped her dagger, and, running for-
The Victory of the Grand Duke* 291
ward, fell on her knees before her brother ;
catching his hand, she covered it with
kisses, and her tears mingled with her
kisses. But the King let her go on, and
stood over her, laughing and looking at the
student. Presently the student began to
laugh also, and he had just advanced a step
towards King Rudolf, when Count Sergius
of Antheim, the Grand Duke's ambassador,
came out from among the trees, riding hotly
and with great zeal after the noted robber.
But no sooner did the Count see the stu-
dent, than he stopped his horse, leapt down
with a cry of wonder, and, running up to
the student, bowed very low and kissed
his hand. So that when Osra looked
round from her kissing of her brother's
hand, she beheld [the Grand Duke's ambas-
sador kissing the hand of her lover. She
sprang to her feet in wonder.
" Who are you ? " she cried to the student,
running in between him and the ambassador.
" Your lover and servant," said he.
" And besides ? " she said.
" Why, in a month, your husband,"
laughed the King, taking her lover by the
He clasped the King's hand, but turned
at once to her, saying humbly :
292 The Heart of Princess Osra.
" Alas, I have no cottage ! "
" Who are you ? " she whispered to him.
" The man for whom you were ready to
die, my Princess. Is it not enough ? "
" Yes, it is enough," said she ; and she
did not repeat her question. But the King,
with a short laugh, turned on his heel, and
taking Count Sergius by the arm walked
off with him ; and presently they called the
officer and learnt fully how the Grand Duke
had come to Strelsau, and how he had
contrived to woo and win the Princess
Osra, and finally to carry her off from the
It was an hour later when the whole of
the two companies, that of the King and
that of the ambassador, were all gathered
together again, and had heard the story ;
so that when the King went to where Osra
and the Grand Duke walked together
among the trees, and taking each by a hand
led them out, they were greated with a
great cheer ; they mounted their horses,
which the Grand Duke now found without
any difficulty, although when the need of
them seemed far greater the student could
not contrive to come upon them ; and the
whole company rode together out of the
wood and along the road towards Strelsau,
The Victory of the Grand Duke. 293
the King being full of jokes and hugely
delighted with a trick that suited his merry
fancy. But before they had ridden far they
met the great crowd which had come out
from Strelsau to learn what had happened
to Princess Osra. And the King cried out
that the Grand Duke was to marry the
Princess, while his Guards, who had been
with him, and the ambassador's people,
spread themselves among the crowd and
told the story ; and when they heard it, the
Strelsau folk were nearly beside themselves
with amusement and delight, and thronged
round Osra, kissing her hands and blessing
her. The King drew back and let her and
the Grand Duke ride alone together, while
he followed with Count Sergius. Thus
moving at a very slow pace, they came in
the forenoon to Strelsau ; but some one
had galloped on ahead with the news, and
the Cathedral bells had been set ringing,
the streets were full, and the whole city
given over to excitement and rejoicing.
All the men were that day in love with
Princess Osra, and, what is more, they told
their sweethearts so ; and these found no
other revenge than to blow kisses and fling
flowers at the Grand Duke as he rode past
with Osra by his side. So they came back
294 The Heart of Princess Osra.
to the Palace, whence they had fled in the
early gleams of the morning's light.
It was evening and the moon rose, fair
and clear, over Strelsau. In the streets
there were sounds of merriment and rejoic-
ing ; every house was bright with light ;
the King had sent out meat and wine for
every soul in the city that none might be
sad or hungry or thirsty in all the city that
night ; so that there was no small uproar.
The King himself sat in his armchair,
toasting the bride and bridegroom in com-
pany with Count Sergius of Antheim, whose
dignity, somewhat wounded by the trick his
master had played on him, was healing
quickly under the balm of King Rudolf's
graciousness. And the King said to Count
" My lord, were you ever in love ?"
" I was, sire," said the Count.
" So was I," said the King. " Was it
with the Countess, my lord ? "
Count Sergius's eyes twinkled demurely,
but he answered :
" I take it, sire, that it must have been
with the Countess."
" And I take it," said the King, " that it
must have been with the Queen."
Then they both laughed ; and then they
The Victory of thc^Grand Duke* 295
both sighed ; and the King, touching the
Count's elbow, pointed out to the terrace
of the Palace, on to which the room where
they were opened. For Princess Osra and
her lover were walking up and down to-
gether on this terrace. And the two
shrugged their shoulders, smiling.
" With him," remarked the King, " it will
have been with "
" The Countess, sire," discreetly inter-
rupted Count Sergius of Antheim.
" Why, yes, the Countess," said the King,
and with a laugh they turned back to their
But the two on the terrace also talked.
" I do not yet understand it," said Princess
Osra. " For on the first day I loved you,
and on the second day I loved you, and on
the third and the fourth and every day I
loved you. Yet the first day was not like
the second, nor the second like the third,
nor any day like any other. And to-day,
again, is unlike them all. Is love so various
and full of changes ? "
" Is it not ? " he asked with a smile.
" For while you were with the Queen, talk-
ing of I know not what
" Nor I indeed," said Osfa hastily.
" I was with the King, and he, saying
296 The Heart of Princess Osra*
that forewarned was forearmed, told me
very strange aud pretty stories ; of some a
report had reached me before "
" And yet you came to Strelsau ? "
" While of others I had not heard."
" Or you would not have come to
The Grand Duke, not heeding these ques-
tions, proceeded to his conclusion.
" Love, therefore," said he, '* is very vari-
ous. For M. de Merosailles "
" These are old stories," cried Osra, pre-
tending to stop her ears.
" Loved in one way, and Stephen the
smith in another, and the Miller of Hof-
bau in a third."
" I think," said Osra, " that I have for-
gotten the Miller of Hofbau. But can one
heart love in many different ways ? I know
that different men love differently."
" But cannot one heart love in different
ways ?" he smiled.
" May be," said Osra thoughtfully, " one
heart can have loved." But then she sud-
denly looked up at him with a mischievous
sparkle in her eyes. " No, no," she cried,
" it was not love. It was "
" What was it?"
" The courtiers entertained me till the
The Victory of the Grand Duke* 297
King came," she said, with a blushing laugh.
And looking up at him again she whispered,
4 'Yet I am glad that you lingered for a
At this moment she saw the King come
out on to the terrace ; with him was the
Bishop of Modenstein ; and after the Bishop
had been presented to the Grand Duke, the
King began to talk with the Grand Duke,
while the Bishop kissed Osra's hand and
wished her joy.
" Madame," said he, " once you asked me
if I could make you understand what love
was. I take it you have no need for my
lessons now. Your teacher has come."
" Yes, he has come," she said gently, look-
ing at the Bishop with friendliness. " But
tell me, will he always love me ? "
" Surely he will," answered the Bishop.
" And tell me," said Osra, " shall I always
love him ? "
"Surely," said the Bishop, again most
courteously. "Yet indeed, madame," he
continued, " it would seem almost enough to
ask of heaven to love now and now to be
loved. For the years roll on, and youth
goes, and even the most incomparable
beauty will yield its blossom when the sea-
son wanes ; yet that sweet memory may
298 The Heart of Princess Osra.
ever be fresh and young, a thing a man can
carry to his grave and raise as her best
monument on his lady's tomb."
" Ah, you speak well of love," said she.
" I marvel that you speak so well of love.
For it is as you say ; to-day in the wood it
seemed to me that I had lived enough, and
that even Death was but Love's servant as
Life is, and both purposed solely for his
" Men have died because they loved you,
madame, and some yet live who love you,"
said the Bishop.
" And shall I grieve for both, my lord
or for which ? "
" For neither, madame ; the dead have
gained peace, and they who live have es-
" But would they not be happier for for-
getting ? "
" I do not think so," said the Bishop, and
bowing low to her again, he stood back, for
he saw the King approaching with the
Grand Duke ; the King took him by the
arm and walked on with him ; but Osra's
face lost the brief pensiveness that had come
upon it as she talked with the Bishop, and
turning to her lover, she stretched out her
hands to him, saying :
The Victory of the Grand Duke* 299
" I wish there was a cottage, and that you
worked for bread, while I made ready for
you at the cottage, and then ran far, far, far
down the road to watch and wait for your
" Since a cottage was not too small, a
palace will not be too large," said he, catch-
ing her in his arms.
Thus the heart of Princess Osra found its
haven and its rest ; for a month later she
was married to the Grand Duke of Mitten-
heim in the Cathedral of Strelsau, having
utterly refused to take any other place for
her wedding. Again she and he rode forth
together through the Western Gate ; and
the King rode with them on their way till
they came to the woods. Here he paused
and all the crowd that accompanied him
stopped also ; and they all waited till the
sombre depths of the glades hid Osra and
her lover from their sight. Then, leaving
them thus riding together to their happi-
ness, the people returned home, sad for the
loss of their darling Princess. But for conso-
lation, and that their minds might the less
feel her absence, they had her name often
on their lips ; and the poets and story-
tellers composed many stories about her,
not grounded on fact, as are those which
300 The Heart of Princess Osra*
have been here set forth, but the fabric of
idle imaginings, wrought to please the fancy
of lovers or to wake the memories of older
folk. So that, if a stranger goes now to
Strelsau, he may be pardoned if it seem to
him that all mankind was in love with
Princess Osra. Nay, and those stories so
pass all fair bounds that if you listen to
them, you will come near to believing that
the Princess also had found some love for
all the men who had given her their love.
Thus to many she is less a woman who once
lived and breathed, than some sweet image
under whose name they fondly group all
the virtues and the charms of her whom
they love best, each man fashioning for
himself from his own chosen model her
whom he calls his Princess. Yet it may be
that for some of them who so truly loved
her, her heart had a moment's tenderness.
Who shall tell all the short-lived dreams
that come and go, the promptings and stir-
rings of a vagrant inclination ? And who
would pry too closely into these secret mat-
ters ? May we not more properly give
thanks to heaven that the thing is as it is ?
For surely it makes greatly for the increase
of joy and entertainment in the world, and
of courtesy and true tenderness, that the
The Victory of the Grand Duke* 301
heart of Princess Osra or of what lady you
may choose, sir, to call by her name should
flutter in pretty hesitation here and there
and to and fro a little, before it flies on a
straight wing to its destined and desired
home. And if you be not the Prince for
your Princess, why, sir, your case is a sad
one. Yet there have been many such, and
still there is laughter as well as tears in the
tune to which the world spins round :-^-
But still a Ruby kindles in the Vine,
And many a Garden by the Water blows e
Wear your willow then, as the Marquis
de Merosailles wore his, lightly and yet most
courteously ; or like the Bishop of Moden-
stein (for so some say), with courage and
self-mastery. That is, if wear it you must.
You remember what the Miller of Hofbau
AN INTERESTING ANNOUNCEMENT*
The most important work from the pen of ANTHONY HOPE
since the publication of " The Prisoner of Zenda,"
is to be entitled
and is to be issued early in J897.
IT IS OF THE SAME GENERAL NATURE AS "THE
PRISONER OF ZENDA," BUT SURPASSES jt jt ji #
jl # jl j* j* THE LATTER IN MANY RESPECTS.
The hero is a young English lord of to-day a man of the
same stamp as Rudolph Rassendyl ; while the heroine is the lady
Euphrosyne (Phroso) of Neopolia and more than equals Flavia
in courage, interest and charm*
Henry B. Weschler has spent nearly a year upon
the numerous illustrations, working from the model
and making use of a collection of Greek costumes,
The book will be published at $1.50 and will be well printed and
bound ; and an extraordinary success is expected
by its publishers.
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY,
14 DAY USE
RETURN TO DESK FROM WHICH BORROWEI
This book is due on the last date stamped below, or
on the date to which renewed.
RenewJ$J?ooks are subject to immediate recall.
MAR 3 1962
'<i!i ' '''
JAN IB ia/U4.9,